In his first public comments since news of Adrian Peterson’s indictment broke, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a Friday news conference the league is prepared to dole out tougher punishment for player impropriety going forward but offered few specifics beyond the formation of various committees to help the league get its house in order.
Goodell had been silent for more than a week while the NFL felt the backlash from mounting controversies involving Peterson, Ray Rice and others.
“I got in wrong in the handling of the Ray Rice matter, and I’m sorry for that,” Goodell said. “I got it wrong on a number of levels, from the process that I lead, to the decision that I reached, but now I will get it right and will do whatever’s necessary to accomplish that.”
Asked specifically about Peterson’s situation about 15 minutes into a 45-minute news conference, Goodell said:
“While I’m disappointed in what Adrian Peterson was involved with, we want to see the facts. But I think what we see so far is tragic. I have two daughters who are 13. It’s very difficult to see. I think what we have to do is allow those facts to proceed.”
Reaction to Goodell on Twitter was primarily negative, including former Viking Sidney Rice tweeting “Boo this man,” among other things, as the press conference proceeded.
Linebacker Chad Greenway, who has a broken left hand, will be a game-time decision when the Vikings play at New Orleans on Sunday.
Greenway practiced on Friday at Winter Park, and briefly huddled with coach Mike Zimmer and head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman afterward. Greenway, who also has been on the injury report because of a rib injury, seemed optimistic he might be ready for the game.
Defensive tackle Sharif Floyd (shoulder) and right offensive tackle Phil Loadholt (ankle) should be ready to start in the Saints game, Zimmer said.
Zimmer briefly addressed the team dropping receiver Jerome Simpson, who was scheduled to return from a three-game suspension Monday. Simpson was cut after it discovered Thursday that he had been cited for possession of marijuana and an open bottle during a July traffic stop. His current suspension was his second for violation of the NFL’s substances of abuse policy.
“Every situation is different,” Zimmer said, adding the team “will do what’s in their best interest.”
Simpson’s locker was empty.
With running back Adrian Peterson on the commissioner’s exempt list following his indictment in Texas on child abuse charges, the Vikings do have an open roster spot. Zimmer said it would eventually be filled, but he wasn’t certain when that would happen.
He was eager to turn the team’s focus to Sunday’s game against the Saints (0-2), as was Greenway, who was asked about distractions.
“We need to understand our jobs, but also understand it’s in a hostile environment against a team that is desperate,” Greenway said. “There’s a lot of stuff going on, and we have to prep our guys, who haven’t been in this situation, to help focus on their jobs.”
The Iowa football team is struggling — perhaps even more than the Gophers, though that’s debatable. The Hawkeyes struggled to beat Northern Iowa in their opener, barely beat Ball State (17-13) after that, then lost to Iowa State 20-17 last week.
As such, this humorous give-and-take on Twitter caught our eye:
We’re getting reports of a major power outage on the west side of campus- we are aware and making notifications to try and get it fixed.
— U of Iowa Police (@UIowa_Police) September 19, 2014
.@UIowa_Police i’d like to report a major power outage: the Hawkeyes offense — Rémy Martin (@DaviidHO) September 19, 2014
@DaviidHO Athletics has been notified. They’re hoping to have it fixed by tomorrow.
— U of Iowa Police (@UIowa_Police) September 19, 2014
That’s a light shot at the Hawkeyes’ struggling offense, but it’s always amusing to see those types of things coming from official Twitter accounts.
For Week 3 of “Behind Enemy Lines,” we talked to Larry Holder, the Saints columnist for The Times-Picayune. Here are five questions we asked Holder leading up to the Vikings-Saints matchup at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
1. What has been the biggest issue on defense?
LH: Where do you start? The two strengths on the Saints defense last season was the pass rush and the secondary play. Both have been a letdown so far this season. The Saints haven’t consistently been able to pressure either Matt Ryan or Brian Hoyer. The secondary hasn’t done the defense any favors, though, by having far too many miscommunications.
2. How has Drew Brees looked through two games?
LH: Brees hasn’t been as sharp as the Saints have been accustomed to in recent years. But Brees started slow last season and he compiled one of his best seasons in the NFL. Brees has thrown a costly interception in each game. One was his fault against Atlanta in the end zone. The other came as he took a shot in Cleveland, but the result also cost the Saints as it went back for a touchdown.
3. In what ways does the defensive game plan change without running back Adrian Peterson?
LH: I would assume the Saints would focus less on stopping the run and zero in on shoring up the pass defense. The Saints have expressed their respect for Cordarrelle Patterson and will take their chances in not stacking the box.
4. What is the sense of urgency with this team starting 0-2 and coming back to the Superdome?
LH: There’s no major panic with this team. There’s definitely a sense of urgency, though. The Saints know they had their chances of winning both games and it didn’t happen. They know the season isn’t in trouble at 0-2. As for 0-3, that’s a different story.
5. What needs to happen for the Saints to win the game?
LH: The Saints need to play like they typically play at home. Both side of the football come with extra juice in the Superdome as the Saints went undefeated there in 2013. The Saints need to cut down on the mistakes on defense and increase the pressure on the quarterback. The Saints have also run the football with plenty of success and should continue to use their ground game even with Mark Ingram likely out Sunday with a broken hand.
We are not in Baltimore right now. If we were, we’d probably be visiting every square inch of territory covered in The Wire like some sort of sick TV tourist (or, you know, visiting with our friend Holly).
Third choice, though, would be standing in line with a throng of Ravens fans who have congregated en masse for the team’s jersey exchange program. The Ravens told fans that they could trade in officially licensed Ray Rice jerseys for new Baltimore jerseys.
Based on the tweeted pictures we’re seeing (one below), a lot of fans are taking them up on it.
Whether fans are motivated by a distaste for Rice, the opportunity to trade in an old jersey for a new one at no cost or just the chance to stand in line (probably not that one), these jersey exchanges are an interesting dynamic.
They seem like an act of good will on the part of the team, which in a sense they are. But they are also shameless attempts by the NFL teams to keep their hooks in fans. The amount of time that has passed since the Ravens vehemently defended Rice and supported him can be measured, reasonably, in days. And now the line is cut just like that — but please, come support everyone else on the team!
Will it ever get to that point with the Vikings and Adrian Peterson? It’s hard to say, though the Vikings have no plans to do one as of now. But we do know that those who have been close to the Ravens over the years are just as stunned by Rice’s negative turn in the spotlight as we are here with Peterson’s.
This doesn’t begin to show just how long the line is to trade Ray Rice jerseys. Trade rules: http://t.co/jj53VSkax0 pic.twitter.com/IH2BBRNvQC
— Larry Collins (@CollinsNews) September 19, 2014