Roger Goodell may be in hot water after one of his own referees has made a serious allegation of workplace misconduct against the NFL Commissioner.
Former NFL head of officiating Mike Pereira has stated in his new tell-all book that Goodell shoved him during a heated argument following the infamous 2001 “Bottlegate” game. During that game, referee Terry McAulay halted play with 43 seconds left while Cleveland Browns' fans threw glass bottles on the field. As a result, no more glass bottles are served at NFL games.
“Goodell persisted, but I refused to give in. What happened next was anything but good. The conversation escalated, and when he was down in front of my office, with others present, he was so frustrated and, I’m sure, getting so much heat from Cleveland that he gave me a hard shove into my door to try and continue the argument about McAulay in my office. Quite frankly, it startled me, and I think it startled him a little because the discussion ended shortly after that,” Pereira writes, in an excerpt published by Deadspin.
Pereira states that he was proud of himself for defending his referee in the face of Goodell’s inappropriate, and frankly childish conduct.
"Despite that, I stood my ground and refused to suspend McAulay. It would have been the wrong thing to do. Even though I worked for the league, I still managed the 119 officials. You have to support your “players,” including sticking to your guns when you get shoved by your boss—who, by the way, wasn’t yet commissioner then. He was the executive vice president and chief operating officer."
This is a troublesome accusation for two reasons. Firstly, the fact that in any other workplace there would be an investigation to see whether misconduct did take place between a high ranking league employee and his subordinate. All indications point to the fact that this incident was never investigated by the NFL. Secondly, the fact that the NFL would choose to reward Goodell with a promotion to commissioner five years later, despite his history of mistreating league employees.
This is definitely a bad look for the Commissioner, who has been scrutinized over a plethora of issues since being named the head of the NFL. If Goodell indeed acted inappropriately, he should be subject to the same discipline as anyone else in the NFL.
He should know, he doles out those punishments afterall.
Images Courtesy of Keystone Press