A lot of people don’t like Roger Goodell. Some don’t approve of his player discipline. Others might not like how he has managed the NFL’s domestic violence issues. Another subset could object to how he has handled recent player protests. If you are looking for someone to criticize, Goodell is a pretty easy target.
But there’s at least one person who not only doesn’t criticize the NFL commissioner but also is willing to defend Goodell from all who dare slander him: Jane Skinner Goodell, his wife.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Jane Skinner Goodell has been standing up for her husband on Twitter from an account with the name “Jones smith” and the handle @forargument. She has anonymously sparred with Pro Football Talk, as well as reporters such as Jason Gay and Seth Wickersham.
Here’s what she told the Journal after the paper discovered her ruse:
“It was a REALLY silly thing to do and done out of frustration—and love.” Mrs. Goodell said Thursday afternoon in a written statement. “As a former media member, I’m always bothered when the coverage doesn’t provide a complete and accurate picture of a story. I’m also a wife and a mom. I have always passionately defended the hard-working guy I love—and I always will. I just may not use Twitter to do so in the future!”
The @foranargument account, which reportedly had no followers, has since been deleted.
Jane Skinner Goodell, a former television anchor, may have attracted the Journal’s attention by tweeting once at the paper (on Oct. 3) and once at Gay, a columnist (in August).
“The premise of your article is silly,” @forargument tweeted on Oct. 3 at the Journal after an article about disagreement among league owners over handling of the anthem protests. “What board of directors in this country would all agree on this issue?”
“Why is everyone so immature? (including you?),” @forargument scolded Journal columnist Jason Gay in August.
Of course, this calls to mind Kevin Durant’s attempt to defend himself on Twitter through a fake account, which blew up spectacularly when he tweeted in third person from his verified handle. Of course, Goodell and Durant are likely far from the only high-profile people in sports (or beyond) who do dirty work from anonymous accounts.
The problem with this secret-Twitter-account strategy is that it accomplishes exactly nothing. The Journal points out that none of @foranargument’s tweets received any likes, retweets or replies, which sounds about right. A nameless, faceless account will simply never gain enough traction to make anyone care about it.
Next time Jane Skinner Goodell sees some criticism of her husband online she should probably just, you know, let it go.