This shouldn’t come as a surprise but there are people within the NFL who weren’t pleased with what Roger Goodell told personnel about the NFL Draft.
Despite opposition from many team GM’s and executives, the commissioner sent a memo to teams letting them know that the NFL Draft would go on as scheduled (April 23-25) and told them that “public discussion of issues relating to the Draft serves no useful purpose and is grounds for disciplinary action.”
You know you’re not confident in your decision when you have to threaten “disciplinary action” on anyone who publicly discusses that idea. Nevertheless, the Draft is going on and while some aren’t thrilled with that, they’re also not thrilled with Goodell’s perceived threat.
On Peter King’s “Football Morning in America” column, he cited some anonymous NFL personnel who contacted him with their opposition to Goodell’s mandate.
“I think it’s unlikely he will try to reach out to salve the wounds right now, but Roger Goodell has to know how angry football team personnel are with him right now. Some are unhappy that the draft will go forward on April 23-25, figuring all the restrictions on scouting will make it harder for all teams to get up to speed on players. Some are unhappy that, in Goodell’s words, “Public discussion of issues relation to the draft serves no useful purpose and is grounds for disciplinary action.” Really? “Why on earth would you ever threaten an opinion?” texted one prominent NFL person. Another: “Whatever happened to freedom of speech?” I agree. Just because a GM like Mickey Loomis says he thinks the draft should be delayed, and more anonymous influencers have the same opinion, why threaten them with discipline? Seems a little provocative to me.”
If we want to get technical, Goodell disciplining anyone for opposing him isn’t a violation of “freedom of speech.” The NFL isn’t government owned and he’s not keeping anyone from saying anything, just that they’ll be disciplined. Having said that, unless you want to be a dictator, it’s not a good look to stifle opposing viewpoints especially when those opposing views are made in a mature way and are valid points.
Before this mandate was in place, Saints GM Mickey Loomis went on King’s podcast to explain why the Draft should be delayed. That kind of discussion, whether in private or in public, enhances everybody’s understanding of where they’re coming from and shouldn’t be subject to discipline. If Loomis just decided to go on a rant and say “Goodell sucks,” that might be worth some discipline because that doesn’t really add to the conversation; but if someone like Loomis is going to maturely point out that many teams feel they won’t be able to adequately do their job if the Draft remains in April, that makes Goodell look even worse than if he just let people publicly oppose him. If anything, Goodell threatening discipline over this “serves no useful purpose.” Too bad we can’t discipline him.