In a poll conducted over nearly a month, USA Today found a majority of NFL players do not approve of Commissioner Roger Goodell’s performance.
USA Today polled 300 “active” players, some of whom the organization conceded were on practice squads, from Dec. 19 to Jan. 12. The poll has a margin of error of plus-minus 5%. USA Today also granted players “anonymity because they were concerned about fallout or reaction to their vote going public.”
The poll found 61% disapproved of Goodell and 39% approved of his performance, citing Goodell has made the NFL the country’s “most popular sport.”
Participating in a Reddit.com AMA (Ask Me Anything) session on Monday, Goodell was asked about the poll, and he said he tries to “focus on issues that benefit the NFL in the long term, including, and most especially, our players.”
“I truly respect our players and get tremendous feedback from them,” he said. “They help us make better decisions. I look forward to working more closely with them in the future.”
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Goodell “has tremendous respect for NFL players and always seeks their views on a wide range of issues.”
“He values their input tremendously in working to make the game better,” Aiello said. “Roger broke into the league 30 years ago working closely with players, and he hasn’t changed that approach”
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison, whom Goodell has fined more than $100,000 for various tackles deemed to have been illegal, told USA Today that Goodell is “not totally for the safety of players” and that he “obviously disapproves” of Goodell.
“A lot of stuff they’ve done, [such as] fining guys crazy amounts of money for helmet-to-helmet hits and all that and saying you’re doing this for the safety of players,” Harrison said. “But yet you want to add extra games to the regular season.”