NFL Deletes Questions on Trump and Commissioner Goodell in Super Bowl Media Transcript

Tom Brady of the New England Patriots answers questions during Super Bowl LI media availability at the J.W. Marriott on January 31, 2017 in Houston, Texas
Houston, TX

It appears that the transcript of the NFL’s Opening Night media event for the upcoming Super Bowl omitted most of the questions reporters asked about President Trump and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

According to a hostile report by The New York Times, the NFL “built a virtual wall” around the New England Patriots to shield them from the discussion of the friendships that quarterback Tom Brady, coach Bill Belichick, and team owner Robert Kraft have with the President of the United States. But that “wall” also extended around questions reporters asked about Goodell.

The Times report notes that many reporters quizzed players about politics, not just Brady but others as well, and asked their opinions on Commissioner Goodell. But those questions are absent in the NFL’s official transcript of the media event.

The transcripts feature “almost no references to Trump or Goodell,” the paper notes.

A spokesman for the NFL told the Times that these transcripts are not meant to be full, word-for-word transcripts of the events.

The paper further notes that the NFL has “sanitized its Super Bowl transcripts in past years,” with a reminder that two years ago the league also left controversial comments by Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman out of transcripts.

Andrew Bucholtz of points out that the questions missing from the NFL transcripts aren’t necessarily excised from the historical record, because reporters make their own recordings at these events. He also points out that the NFL is under no obligation to offer any word-for-word transcripts regardless.

Bucholtz concludes that those journalists who write about the controversies will write about them whether the NFL adds the comments to the transcripts or not.

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