Roger Goodell has been, if nothing else, decisive as the NFL's commissioner. He's instituted a program that constantly fines players for illegal hits, he's negotiated successfully on the NFL's behalf with both the NFLPA and NFLRA, and he's handed down some of the most stringent penalties in NFL history in regard to the bountygate scandal.
To say the least, Roger Goodell has his critics, and Drew Brees continues to head the list of players unhappy with Goodell. Brees talked about Roger Goodell's use of power with TIME.com's Sean Gregory, taking the opportunity to criticize the commissioner's "abuse" of power after being asked if players thought Goodell had too much power.
"Yeah, it is. Just the fact that, these unilateral decisions can be made without any kind of oversight, just seems like there’s — and I’m not talking about the decisions that are made when a guy gets a DUI, or when a guy gets a weapons charge, or gets caught making bad decision in that regard. You know, it seems like there’s just this abuse of power in a lot of ways when it comes to things like certainly the bounty allegations and accusations."
Does Roger Goodell have too much power? In my opinion, yes. But, who's fault is that fact? Well, Roger Goodell only has power that has been given to him by the NFLPA in collective bargaining negotiations. As a member of the NFLPA's Executive Committee, Drew Brees is very well aware of that, and it seems laughable that he's so willing to criticize the manner in which Goodell rules after giving him the power to do so.
The issue that Drew Brees and, more importantly, fans need to always remember is that Roger Goodell answers to the owners of the NFL. Why did the NFL resort to replacement refs? Why did the lockout of the NFL's players eat up an entire offseason? It's all very simple. Money. The owners pay Roger Goodell to negotiate the best possible terms for the NFL, not for fans or the players; although they would like you to that.
As for the bounty scandal, Goodell probably could have handled the entire situation better, but he clearly thought their was a bounty system in place, and he wanted to send a message. Yes, the punishments were extreme, but it may have been the only way to send a clear message that such a system won't be tolerated. If you want an example of not sending such a message, simply look at major league baseball and the steroid era. I realize the bounty system was nowhere near as prevalent as steroids in baseball, but Goodell wanted it stopped immediately, and it's likely that he accomplished that goal.