NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seems to no longer be sports biggest villain.
A year ago, the National Football League’s shield was being dented. Television ratings were dropping, the concussion issue was not going away and there were protests by a number of players during the national anthem which led to people to scream and complain about players’ disrespect for the song although those same people were ignoring the issue that drove those to players to protest. The league had just moved two franchises to the Los Angeles area, the St. Louis Rams and the San Diego Chargers. Another owner Mark Davis decided that a $750 million public subsidy to build a stadium in Las Vegas was too good to pass up and he decided that he needed to leave Oakland. Players were being arrested for various crimes including domestic violence and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was public enemy number one. The NFL was losing favor but one TV network, FOX, one company Amazon and league marketing partners backed the league with big money deals.
What a difference a year makes. There is little decline in TV ratings from 2017 and in fact there has been an uptick. The concussion issue and the long term impact of head injuries have been relegated to the sidelines. Players are still being arrested but that too seems to be a non-issue and the national anthem protests have been few and far between and no longer is an interesting story. The NFL is back to promoting football although there still are glitches such as the Los Angeles Chargers home attendance and whether the Spanos family-owned Chargers in the long run can be successful playing in Rams owners Stan Kroenke’s Inglewood stadium. The NFL has put Aaron Hernandez and Colin Kaepernick and Donald Trump and a whole bunch of others in the rear view mirror. People around the league including those partners who enrich the owners are happy.