Why do people 'hate' Roger Goodell? NFL commissioner booed on draft day

Bruno Cooke April 30, 2021
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Why do fans boo Roger Goodell at the NFL draft every year? The bizarre tradition sees the NFL commissioner met with a sea of boos each time he announces the draft. Why do people “hate” Roger Goodell?

Why do people seem to ‘hate’ Roger Goodell?

SBNation describes NFL commissioner Roger Goodell as “the suit-iest of suits”, which makes him “the easy target” for any issue a fan has with the league.

However, Goodell getting booed annually at the NFL draft might have less to do with this and more to do with a long-standing sports tradition.

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Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Why does Roger Goodell get booed?

Roger Goodell is the public face of the NFL, and therefore the public face of all its ills, which seems to have led to a tradition of Godell getting booed annually on Draft Day.

He is not alone in this. Other sports, too, seem to share the tradition. 

Gary Bettman, for example, has received a similar reception during several of his public NHL draft addresses.

Similarly, former NBA commissioner David Stern was no stranger to the tradition.

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What grievances do fans have against the NFL?

In recent years, several scandals and public relations mishaps have shaken fans’ faith in the league.

From the 2007 “Spygate” scandal that resulted in zero suspensions to the “Deflategate” saga that saw Tom Brady suspended for four games, some fans may harbour grievances about management of the sport and punishments meted out.

How long has Roger Goodell been NFL commissioner?

Goodell succeeded retiring commissioner Paul Tagliabue on 1 September, 2006. 

There were five finalists to choose from, and a close vote confirmed Goodell three weeks before he assumed office. He received one more vote than the required two-thirds majority.

The following day, the Washington Post described him as “the most powerful man in sports”.

Did Roger Goodell play football?

Goodell was a three-sport star at Bronxville High School in the 1970s. He captained the school football, basketball and baseball teams, and was athlete of the year before graduation.

Goodell attended Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania, expecting to play football there.

However, after suffering a knee injury while running before his freshman year of college he decided to forego playing football and focus instead on his academics.

Bruno is a postgraduate student studying global journalism, with research interests in the intersection of the media, storytelling, culture and politics. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Packs Light and Forge Press, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com. He is a Student Ambassador for Tortoise Media, a big fan of Freddie Mercury and a novelist – his debut novel, Reveries, is available on Amazon.