Roger Goodell vs. Rachel Nichols. Was the CNN reporter treated in a condescending or sexist manner by the NFL commish?
Yesterday, Goodell addressed the news media assembled in Phoenix in his annual “state of the NFL” pre-Super Bowl press conference.
Rachel Nichols, formerly of ESPN, took that opportunity to press Goodell about potential conflicts of interest in the cozy relationships between paid, outside investigators, and the NFL office and its ownership.
The league has hired several high-profile investigators — such as former FBI Director Robert Mueller and prominent criminal defense attorney Ted Wells — to probe the “DeflateGate” dispute currently engulfing the New England Patriots, as well as, for example, the Ray Rice and Richie Incognito controversies.
Nichols wanted to know what steps Goodell would take moving forward to minimize what she pinpointed as any conflicts of interest or credibility gaps in the NFL-authorized investigations.
The way Goodell responded prompted many on social media to charge that he was patronizing and/or belittling the reporter, especially in the last part of his answer.
Well, Rachel, I don’t agree with you in a lot of the assumptions you make in your question. I think we have had people who have had uncompromising integrity… their integrity is impeccable… I think we have done an excellent job of bringing outside consultants in. Somebody has to pay them, Rachel. So unless you’re volunteering, which I don’t think you are, we will do that…”
Watch the clip below and draw your own conclusions.
Expounding on the conflict about conflicts, the Los Angeles Times noted that “CNN’s Rachel Nichols was on the receiving end of what many are calling a snarky and disrespectful response. Critics speculated Goodell would not have responded to a male reporter in the same fashion.”
USA TODAY added its own perspective about the Goodell-Nichols exchange.
If there’s anyone who has benefited greatly from doing their job well during the past year in the NFL, it’s undoubtedly Nichols, who has become a star in each press conference with Goodell. If he’s serious about making the league better, he should welcome her pointed, educated and well-thought out questions. Or at least pretend to. Openly becoming annoyed with her for asking tough questions is perhaps the worst thing that he could have done.”
Baltimore Sun media columnist David Zurawik also weighed in. “Good for Nichols for standing up in the middle of a sea of softballs thrown during a pre-Super Bowl press conference out in Phoenix — and daring to risk Goodell’s wrath.”
In the press availability, Goodell apparently danced around various other issues facing the NFL, but did announce that the league was hiring a chief medical offer “to help oversee player safety and the league’s medical policies.”
Do you think that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s somewhat dismissive response to Rachel Nichols was appropriate or inappropriate? Did gender have anything to do with it?