Josh Norman may be best known for his run-in with Odell Beckham Jr. last season, but the outspoken cornerback held nothing back recently when discussing NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as well as his own self-confidence as a player.
In the latest issue of ESPN the Magazine, Norman brought some candid takes to the interview. He called himself the “best cornerback on Earth,” and when asked what he thought of Goodell, Norman brought the best soundbite of them all.
“Horrible. He’s straight horrible,” Norman said. “He’s so cold. There is no emotion or nothing.”
Tell us how you really feel, man.
This type of candor is certainly admirable from such a high-profile athlete like Norman, who recently inked a five-year, $75 million deal with $50 million guaranteed. Although his brash nature and somewhat controversial mouth have gotten him into trouble a few times, it seems as if Norman feeds off this type of contention.
At no point did that become more apparent than during the aforementioned Week 15 altercation with OBJ, and the corner didn’t mince words when discussing that incident either.
“He’s skilled and talented,” Norman said. “I won’t take that away from him. But he’s never been through any adversity in his life. It’s like, when are you ever going to grow up?”
There’s something to be said for having a chip on your shoulder and playing with an edge like Norman does. The former fifth-round pick was not handed a big stack of money coming into the league, so he’s had to earn every bit of the big deal he just signed. It seems as though Norman thinks this self-made image gives him carte blanche when it comes to voicing these opinions, however, which can certainly come across as arrogant to some folks.
And Norman took this all-encompassing power to the nth degree with his continuing criticism of Commissioner Goodell in his interview with Kevin Van Valkenburg.
“I get that he makes the owners money, but literally anyone could do that,” Norman said. “A dog could. He’s a dog in a suit.”
So, essentially, Norman has just called the NFL’s most powerful man a horrible, emotionless dog. Surely that will go over really well with everyone in the league office.
And it’s hard to think any of his fellow players will disagree with Norman’s take here, as the inconsistency of the league’s head honcho has been concerning at best and completely self-serving at worst.
It all began a couple of years ago with the Ray Rice incident and the initial slap on the wrist he received from Goodell under the personal conduct policy for knocking his then-fiancee out cold. And it has progressed to Goodell’s seemingly personal vendetta against guys like Tom Brady in the Deflategate saga or James Harrison in the ongoing Al Jazeera investigation.
But perhaps the biggest bombshell from this interview was Norman’s intimation that the league (namely Goodell) and the players’ association are taking part in a conspiracy against the athletes out on the field.
“[The NFL] is a dictatorship, and [NFLPA director] DeMaurice [Smith] is in cahoots with those guys,” Norman said.
While some may scoff at the mere accusation of any improprieties between the league and players’ association when it comes to collusion, it’s not exactly a huge leap to take. Norman is only voicing what seems quite plausible given the tyranny the NFLPA has allowed Goodell to reign over the league with and the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that the players are stuck with until 2021.
Although it’s likely these comments won’t gain him many fans within the league or outside of it, Norman is just fine with taking a stance against Goodell and the current power structure of the NFL. In fact, he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“That’s just not me, man. I’m not fake,” Norman said.
[Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images]