Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

NFL's Goodell 'Needs To Go' After Deflategate Loss

Winslow Townson
AP Photo
A Patriots fan holds a sign that refers to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a game between New England and the New York Giants Sept. 3 in Foxborough, Mass. A federal judge overturned Goodell's four-game suspension of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel is calling for the ouster of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, after a federal judge ruled he mishandled the Deflategate controversy.

The judge Thursday overturned Goodell’s four-game suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady over deflated balls in the AFC championship game last season.


Thiel said the judge didn't rule about the facts in the case, but rather whether Brady was allowed due process. He said Goodell failed.

"One word. Hubris," Thiel said. "The NFL - and Roger Goodell is its embodiment - is so used to getting its way...that it believes in its own infallibility. That is so wrong."

"The judge specifically avoided the facts of the case," Thiel continued. "But he obviously connected the dots with (Goodell) not telling Tom Brady what the consequences were, setting himself up as the arbitrator in a decision that he already influenced making.

"It just spoke to so many years of the NFL thinking that it's always right. This smackdown was so mortifying because it showed Goodell went outside the rules to dictate a punishment that is not anywhere appropriate to the nature of the crime," Thiel said.

Appeal: Bad Idea

The NFL is appealing the judge's decision. Thiel said that's not a good idea.

"This thing needs to stop," he said. "What Roger Goodell has to be is right all the time. And he's not.

"In fact, he's been wrong in any number of decisions going back to the beginning of his tenure as commissioner succeeding Paul Tagliabue (in August 2006).

"He's had reversals. He's had reductions. There was an embarrassing episode several years ago with the bountygate case with the New Orleans Saints, in which his punishments were rolled back.

"And he's still got the entire concussion saga that's tossed upon his lap that he is, again, mismanaging. It's really been a startling thing.

"I think the NFL owners would probably say 'Roger, stop this.' And the reason they would say that is because his actions are the threat to the integrity of the game.

"He's inviting every player who gets punished by his office to appeal. To file suit. To do what Tom Brady did. And if I was a player, why wouldn't I? Because it's clear that his reach is exceeding his grasp," Thiel said.

Time To Go

Is this the end for the embattled Goodell? Thiel said it needs to be.

"I would think he'd have to (go) be because he really is compromising the integrity of the game - the very thing that he is using to continue this appeal," he said.

"No one can trust what Goodell does or says.

"This whole team of lawyers around him apparently is telling him 'Go ahead and violate the rules and the process that we agreed to in the collective bargaining agreement because we're the NFL and we can do whatever we want.' Well, they can't.

"The more he pushes, the worse it's going to seem. Goodell doesn't see that. He needs to be removed from office."


You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwest and

Kirsten Kendrick hosts Morning Edition on KNKX and the sports interview series "Going Deep," talking with folks tied to sports in our region about what drives them — as professionals and people.
Art Thiel is a co-founder and writer for the rising sports website Sportspress Northwest. In 2003 Thiel wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, “Out of Left Field,” which became a regional bestseller. In 2009, along with Steve Rudman and KJR 950 afternoon host Mike Gastineau, Thiel authored “The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists,” a cross between and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom.