The annual “State of the NFL” news conference this afternoon was, for the most part, predictably, a snooze fest. The majority of questions to commissioner Roger Goodell were soft balls about expansion possibilities, new stadiums and other big-business issues. For some reason, reporters stayed away from hot-button issues such as the Aaron Hernandez murder trial.
Then there was CNN’s Rachel Nichols, who asked a question that clearly bothered Goodell.
Roger, you guys have faced a lot of problems over this year that have a really wide range, but a lot of the issues have in common the conflict of interest. When you do something like hire an outside investigator like Ted Wells into the Patriots investigation, you’re still paying him and Robert Kraft who owns the Patriots is paying you. So even when you do everything right in one of those situations, it opens you guys up to a credibility gap with some of the public and even with some of your most high-profile players. What steps can you guys take in the future to mitigate some of those conflict of interest issues?
“Well, Rachel, I don’t agree with you in a lot of the assumptions you make in your question,” Goodell said. “Somebody has to pay them [the consultants], Rachel. So unless you’re volunteering, which I don’t think you are, we will do that.”
The commissioner went on to essentially deny that his outside consultants are capable of bias. Check it out the full Nichols/Goodell moment below:
Nichols will co-host “Kickoff in Arizona” on CNN Saturday at 4:30pmET with former NFL QB Dan Marino.