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Jonathan Kraft: ‘We are very happy with’ Roger Goodell 10.02.14 at 11:00 pm ET
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Patriots president Jonathan Kraft publicly backed NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday, saying that “we are very happy with him.”€

“€œRoger’€™s our commissioner and we are very happy with him,”€ said Kraft. according to the Associated Press.

Jonathan is the son of Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and was speaking at a Bloomberg News luncheon in response to questions from a moderator. He did not take questions from reporters.

The commissioner has come under fire recently for his handling of the Ray Rice case. Initially, Rice was suspended for two games following an incident where he was seen dragging his then-fiance Janay Palmer out of a casino elevator.

After a second video surfaced showing Rice striking Palmer, Goodell suspended the running back indefinitely for violating the NFL’€™s personal conduct policy. The Ravens then released him, and Goodell acknowledged he ‘€œdidn’€™t get it right.’€

“€œI’€™m paraphrasing,”€ said Kraft, “but [Goodell] effectively said: ‘At the NFL, we hold ourselves to an extremely high standard, both on and off the field, and in a recent incident of domestic violence I didn’€™t do a good job, I didn’€™t get it right, I didn’€™t hold the league to that very high standard and that one’€™s on me.’

“[Goodell] realized without having to see the [second] video that domestic violence was a much more serious thing for society in general, but for our league to be setting an extremely strong message on about just how unacceptable it is and he didn’€™t do it.

“He acknowledged it, and after the video became public, he acknowledged it again.”

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Adam Schefter on MFB: Kansas City on Monday night ‘a tough spot for the Patriots to step into’ 09.25.14 at 1:11 pm ET
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Adam Schefter

Adam Schefter

ESPN’s Adam Schefter checked in with Middays with MFB on Thursday to discuss the Patriots and NFL news. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Patriots have not looked impressive over the first three weeks, but Schefter cautioned pessimistic fans not to get too worried this early in the season.

“I’ll take a 2-1 start every time, with the criticism and questions, because teams evolve as the season goes on. There are peaks and valleys, fits where they go through where teams look better than they had,” he said. “They have not looked particularly strong. I think they’ve looked a little slow on the offensive side of the football so far. They just have not looked like the efficient machine that they’ve been in other years. Now, that’s not to say that they won’t become that starting Monday night in Kansas City, which is a tough place to play. But they just haven’t looked in rhythm. Maybe it stems from the protection that [Tom] Brady has gotten up front. Maybe it stems from a lack of speed and dynamic playmakers on offense. They’ve got good players. [Rob Gronkowski] doesn’t look all the way back to me right now. He looks like he’s laboring just a little bit. That’s just my sense of things.”

Added Schefter: “The offense through the first three games has lacked some of the explosion that we’ve seen in other years. Like I said, it used to operate like a machine. And it might get back to that point starting Monday. It just hasn’t looked as rhythmic and as routine and as easy for the offense as it has in other years. Maybe that starts up front. Maybe they’re holding back something. I don’t know. I don’t have the answer to that. I wish I did.”

The Patriots have a big challenge next on the schedule, as they play the Chiefs in a Monday night game at Arrowhead Stadium. While the Chiefs are 1-2 and have had issues on the offensive line, they get a big home-field advantage.

“On Monday night, at home, against New England, that place is going to be very loud. Very loud,” Schefter said. “It’s a tough place to play. It’s one of my favorite places in the NFL to watch a game. It’s always been just a great atmosphere, and it will electric on Monday night, and it will be a tough spot for the Patriots to step into.”

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Tedy Bruschi on D&H: ‘Roger Goodell’s integrity has been compromised’ 09.22.14 at 3:57 pm ET
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Making his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley show, ESPN analyst and former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi reiterated his stance that Roger Goodell should be replaced as commissioner of the National Football League. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

“It was just all about me saying what I believed in, what I felt,” Bruschi said regarding his statement on ESPN shortly after Goodell’s Friday press conference, suggesting it was time for a change in the NFL’s commissioner’s office. “Just that I’m proud of the time I spent in the National Football League. I tried to conduct myself during my 13-year career to do the right thing. I still feel part of it, a part of the integrity of the game to how I still conduct myself. My commissioner I want to be that man you can look to and he represents the integrity of our game. He’s got to be the figurehead. He’s got to lead in his image. He’s everything. He represents the players. He represents the owners. And, yes, I do feel he represents the players because he is the face with the shield. Roger Goodell’s integrity has been compromised. Now, has that been proven? There are still investigations. There’s an internal investigation with the NFL. All I’m saying, moving forward I just feel, personally, we need a new face.

“We need a new leader to implement new policies and to have a new image. Because going forward when you look to the NFL and you see the head of the NFL, and it is Roger Goodell, no matter what happens with the investigation, you remember and you wonder. You wonder what he’s saying. Is he telling the truth? Is everyone behind him? And right now there isn’t. Everyone is not behind him and I would like new leadership to lead the league forward.”

Bruschi also touched on his concerns in regards to his former team.

He noted that perhaps the biggest issue facing the Patriots is their play at the center and guards positions on the offensive line. If improvement is made on the line’s interior, Bruschi said, there could be a concern in regards to quarterback Tom Brady‘s ability to stay healthy for an entire season.

“There’s been only limited improvement over the first few weeks, so that’s somewhat discouraging,” he said. “Is there still plenty of time? Yes. But I really worry. I really worry about the health of Tom Brady and the interior offensive line and what they’re doing there. To me, inside-out, it starts at the center position, which is a very valuable position now in the National Football League. It’s getting to be just as valuable as the left tackle, how you have to solidify the center of that pocket and the running game because that’s where all the pressure is going to come from. Especially when you have a pocket passer, which is what Tom is. It’s the quickest track to get to him and it disrupts the running game the most, if you get to get disruption over the center and the left guard and the right guard. Right now, they’re having problems in there.

Bruschi added, “You can have the best coach there is, Dante Scarnecchia can still be there, and you still may have a center and a right guard that struggles because the players on the other side of the ball are just better. I think offensively what they’ll try to do is mask their deficiencies there. How do you have it more that the interior offensive line to have the advantage in terms of protecting your quarterback? You run the ball more. You try and be more physical. You use misdirection. You do play-action pass. Those type of things you have to win on first and second down and keep it manageable on third down because if it ends up second and long or third and long, I as a defensive pass rusher or linebacker we can attack those A-gaps, that’s where it’s going to come. If you have the problems there, coupled with your tackles getting beat like a drum, like they were at times on Sunday, you have some major problems going forward.”

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Current, former players mock Roger Goodell’s press conference 09.19.14 at 5:11 pm ET
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In the wake of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s press conference Friday afternoon, several current and former players took to Twitter to mock the commissioner and his performance. Here’s a sampling of some of their reactions:

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Roger Goodell: ‘Same mistakes can never be repeated’ at 4:11 pm ET
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Roger Goodell answers questions Friday. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Roger Goodell answers questions Friday. (Elsa/Getty Images)

In a press conference that ran just shy of 45 minutes, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged Friday afternoon that “over the past several weeks, we have seen all too much of the NFL doing wrong, [and] that starts with me.”

In his first public statements in over a week, Goodell addressed many of the questions that have arisen in the wake of several high-profile domestic violence cases involving the NFL, as well as the league’s handling of those situations. In the case of the Ray Rice incident, Goodell said they mishandled that case, adding that the “same mistakes can never be repeated.”

Goodell spoke about the league’s handling of the Rice incident, saying that initial account given to the league by Rice was “inconsistent” with what was later revealed on video.

“I’m telling you right now it’s inconsistent with what he told us,” Goodell said.

Goodell was also quizzed about a statement from law enforcement officials saying they had no record of an NFL request for information on the case.

“We gather almost entirely all of our information through law enforcement, and that’s something else we’re going to look at,” he said. “We asked for it on several occasions. According to our security department, we went through it, we asked for it on several occasions.”

Goodell said he has not considered resigning at any point during this, adding, “I’m focused on doing my job.” He was asked about the possibility of giving up some of his power when it came to disciplinary cases, and said that “everything was on the table.”

He added that as far as he knows, he has the support of the league’s owners.

“I believe I have the support of the owners,” he said. “That has been clear to me.

“I’m focused on doing my job,” he added. “We have a lot of work to do.”

The league announced sizable new plans to try and stamp out domestic abuse and sexual assault. The new policy would mandate that all players and staff on the league’s 32 teams undergo education and training about how to prevent abuse. The training and education sessions will begin within the next month, the commissioner said.

Late Thursday, Goodell sent a memo to teams announcing a partnership with the National Domestic Violence Hotline as well as the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC). The league will provide financial and promotional support to both groups.

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Adam Schefter on MFB: ‘It’s in everyone’s best interests for Roger Goodell to be as transparent and as honest as possible’ at 1:17 pm ET
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Adam Schefter

Adam Schefter

ESPN’s Adam Schefter joined Middays with MFB on Friday to talk about commissioner Roger Goodell, who is scheduled to break his silence and address the media in a press conference Friday afternoon. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

“This is essentially him coming out to defend the league, to admit wrongdoing, because I think everybody would agree that the league just got this wrong along the way,” Schefter said. “There are so many layers to this and so many levels to it that the league just messed up. And they’re going to have to own it. And we’ve heard the owners say, ‘Oh, we want to make it right, we want to get it right.’ And I’m sure you’re going to hear Roger Goodell utter a similar message. But I would think and hope that you would expect more from Roger Goodell. He’s the leader of the NFL. He’s making $44 million a year. He’s the most important man arguably in all of sports. Somebody with that power, with that responsibility, should have an incredible message to deliver today. We’ll see what that is.”

Schefter said he isn’t sure what Goodell will be allowed to say based on the legality of the situation, but he’s hopeful the commissioner is forthcoming.

“I think Roger Goodell has to be as transparent as possible. Period,” Schefter said. “Now, there may be certain legal limits as to what he can say about Robert Mueller’s investigation or whatever it may be. But I think it’s in everyone’s best interests for Roger Goodell to be as transparent and as honest as possible.”

Regarding the possibility that Goodell punishes himself for the league’s mishandling of the recent issues, Schefter said that’s unlikely.

“I think there’s a disconnect between the public perception of Roger Goodell and the ownership’s feelings on Roger Goodell,” Schefter said. “I think the public, by and large, disapproves of the job he’s done, has lost respect for his leadership skills and abilities, questions his credibility, and has less faith in him than it’s ever had. I think we all could agree with that, that’s the universal public feeling — not universal, the majority of the public.

“I think ownership still believes that Roger Goodell has done a great job. He procured a tremendous CBA for the owners. He’s got television contracts that are lucrative beyond words. He got labor peace. He brought stability and profitability to the NFL. And so the owners, by and large, are very happy with Roger Goodell. Now, I think, and I’ve spoken to some who are curious to see what Robert Mueller’s investigation turns up. And should it turn up that he lied, which is going to be difficult to prove, I think, but should it somehow be proven, then he’s going to be out of office.

“But it’s one thing to say that he’s going to be out of office and it’s going to be proven that way, and it’s another thing to actually go do it. I am skeptical that they’ll be able to find that evidence or prove it, that he blatantly lied. Now, in the bylaws of the NFL constitution it talks about having the best interests of the league at heart and reflecting positively, and I think we all could debate whether or not that’s happened over the last few months.

“But I don’t see Roger Goodell saying, ‘And because we missed the Ray Rice decision I’m going to find me four game checks,’ or, ‘suspend me for two weeks,’ or whatever it may be, because ownership believes in him.”

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Rodney Harrison on D&C: NFL domestic abuse cases ‘sickening,’ ‘heartbreaking’ at 11:02 am ET
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NBC Sports NFL analyst Rodney Harrison joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday to discuss league news, including the domestic abuse problem. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice, among others, have dominated the headlines the last couple of weeks because of their domestic abuse cases and the league’s reaction. Harrison said the few players who have done bad things off the field have overshadowed the good people in the league.

“It’s really unfortunate because you have five or six guys involved in these domestic disputes,” Harrison said. “It’s really sickening because you have some of these guys doing positive stuff across the league. Unfortunately four or five guys take away the body of work that everyone else is doing. It’s unfortunate, it’s sad. There’s never a room or space to hit a woman, to lay your hands on a child like that. It’s heartbreaking. It’s heartbreaking for the victims. It’s heartbreaking because these young men are putting their careers on the line, their reputations, everything they worked for. It’s sad. I feel bad for everyone.”

The recent domestic violence cases in the league have made some wonder whether these issues are only known because of modern technology. Many believe incidents like the ones occurring lately have been happening for years throughout the league.

Said Harrison: “I think with the emergence of social media and cameras, there’s a chance of it getting out a lot more. Back when I played, when I first came into the league, things would happen and you would hear conversations in the locker room. Players would say certain things about what’s going on at home. Some guys would say, ‘Hey, man, you shouldn’t be in that situation. Hey, man, you should walk away.’ Obviously with the social media thing everything comes front and center with the public.”

Callahan was surprised Harrison did not have fiery comments regarding the NFL’s problems this week during the pregame show on “Sunday Night Football.”

“People want me to say something controversial, people want me to say something they can take and run with,” Harrison replied. “I’m a football analyst. Yes, I have to analyze certain situations that go on. And I’ve done that. I’ve talked about this. I just told the guys, ‘Hey, let’s just talk football. There are a lot of great things going on in the football world.’ ”

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