NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell listens to questions during a news conference at the NFL football owners meetings in Rosemont, Ill., Tuesday, June 21, 2011.
Where in the world is Roger Goodell?
As the NFL continues to stumble and bungle its way through a domestic abuse crisis — the latest installment of which includes a player allegedly head-butting his wife for turning down sex, then throwing a shoe at a baby — a growing number of observers are asking why the head of the league isn’t more visible.
The NFL commissioner’s last notable public appearance came in an interview with CBS — a lucrative broadcast partner of the NFL — in which he denied having seen the infamous footage of running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiancée (now wife) in a casino elevator last February before it was leaked.
That CBS interview aired last Wednesday morning. Goodell has been hardly heard from or seen in the eight days since. He reportedly canceled public appearances at an event honoring the Carolina Panthers owner last Wednesday night, as well as the opening of the San Francisco 49ers’ brand-new stadium last Sunday.
Peter King of Sports Illustrated says it’s time for him to “come out of hiding.”
Tim Keown of ESPN says he’s “disappeared.”
Tim Dahlberg of the Associated Press says he’s “missing in action.”
Naturally, sportswriters are asking the question on Twitter.
ＷＨＥＲＥ ＩＳ ＲＯＧＥＲ ＧＯＯＤＥＬＬ？
— erik malinowski (@erikmal) September 18, 2014
Even that weird “sign bunny” Twitter meme wants to know:
| WHERE’S |
| ROGER |
I GOODELL? |
— Alexander Goot (@AGoot18) September 18, 2014
So where is Roger Goodell? NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told ESPN in an email that Goodell has been ” been working every day (and much of the night) in the office this week on these issues.”
And a “source with knowledge of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s mindset” apparently told Peter King that “Roger has determined that he will be a leader in the domestic-violence space” — whatever that means.
In a sense, Goodell already is a leader in that space, by dint of his lax enforcement of abuse cases in the NFL. But presuming “domestic violence-prevention space” is what that source meant, now would be a good time for Goodell to poke his head above ground.
His deputies aren’t exactly filling the public leadership vacuum with aplomb; the league’s chief marketing officer offered a somewhat bizarre quote about the “role of the female” this Wednesday.
Will Goodell show himself in public anytime soon? That remains to be seen; the NFL did not immediately return Mashable‘s request for comment on his recent low profile and scheduled appearances. But as the league continues scrambling to keep its ship from taking on more water, it could certainly use some leadership from its appointed leader.
Right now, however, it’s getting anything but. And this scandal isn’t going away anytime soon.