It's no secret that Roger Goodell is not an adored figure among NFL players, and a USA today poll of players confirmed that today.
According to the poll, 61% of NFL players disapprove of the job Roger Goodell has done as commissioner of the NFL, leaving an approval rating of just 39%. 300 players were polled, leaving a 5% margin of error.
Players are often the target of fines levied by Goodell and the NFL, and as such, it's no surprise that those being fined would disapprove of the system they're working under. Still, that's not the only reason players are upset.
Along with fines that have proven to be ineffective in increasing player safety, Goodell's insistence that he's making changes in the name of player safety aren't going over well. Steelers linebacker James Harrison weighed in on topic, "I feel like what he's doing is not totally for the safety of players. ... A lot of stuff they've done, (such as) fining guys crazy amounts of money for helmet-to-helmet hits and all that and saying you're doing this for the safety of players. But yet you want to add extra games to the regular season."
"In the true interest of player safety, I would have no issue with it. But that's not what it's about. It's about money. Who hired Roger Goodell?"
It's difficult to argue against what Harrison is saying. Roger Goodell works for the owners of NFL teams, and his job is to maximize profits while minimizing the potential for losses in the form of lawsuits brought on by former players. Goodell may have a low approval rating among players but he answers to the owners, and they seem very happy with the way Goodell runs the NFL.
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Yeah well, owners did not participate in this poll. I suspect Goodell is wildly popular with them, any why not. Goodell is the architect of the (entirely legal) lockout, won the war that followed, put a cap on escalating salary caps, with Bob Kraft negotiated a new broadcast contract, got Judge David Doty off the owner's back, and out-maneuvered the player's union at every step. His last task is to build a working partnership with DeMaurice Smith like Paul Tagliabue enjoyed with the late Gene Upshaw. That too will get done. Goodell isn't going anywhere.