NFL commissioner Roger Goodell isn’t a well-liked figure in the world of football, and 2015 Hall of Fame inductee Ron Wolf unintentionally further soured Goodell’s reputation on Thursday.
When Wolf approached the stage, he shook the commissioner’s hand and said “way to go on that Brady thing,” which Goodell met with a hearty laugh.
That, of course, is a reference to the NFL’s handling of the Deflategate situation with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. The league issued a four-game suspension for Brady’s alleged role.
But what looked like a joking matter was supposed to be a sincere statement, according to ESPN.
“I wasn’t trying to be a wise guy,” Wolf told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. “I realize he has a real tough job. It was just a passing moment, and obviously, it was picked up on a microphone. I basically meant, ‘Congrats on making a decision.’ That’s why the owners are paying him all that money.”
Wolf’s brief comment must have caught Goodell, who was subsequently blasted on social media, tremendously off guard. It’s difficult to imagine someone would say anything about Brady during a gold jacket ceremony in Canton, Ohio.
There’s no question Wolf meant no ill will toward Brady. Rather, he basically fell victim to the trap of forgetting microphones and cameras are everywhere—and powerful.
For once, the criticism of Goodell was actually unfair.
Photo: USA Today Sports