Commissioner talks with Bears fans at Convent
Commissioner talks with Bears fans at Convention
By: Larry Mayer | Last Updated: 5/1/2011 10:03 PM
LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Speaking to fans via video conferencing at Saturday’s Bears Expo at Soldier Field, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spoke primarily about the league’s labor dispute.
“The bottom line is we’re not spending enough time bargaining,” Goodell said during a question-and-answer session. “We’re spending more time litigating, and that’s frustrating for everybody.
We’ve got to get back to the negotiating table. It’s not going to get resolved through litigation. We’ll get this done if we can sit down and be reasonable and compromise.”
In response to one fan who complained about the barbs being volleyed back and forth between the players and owners, Goodell said: “The important thing is to sit down and address [the issues] in a responsible fashion.
“We’re all fortunate to be part of this game whether we’re on the players’ side, the ownership level or in the front office. This is a great game to be associated with and I love this game as much as anybody in that room there.
"I know the privilege that I have to be a part of this. It’s not about feeling sorry for yourself or whining. We all have to make compromises to make sure we make the game better.”
Asked about the possibility of expanding the regular season to 18 games, Goodell said: “I think anytime you make a change in structure, you have to look at both the consequences to that that are obvious and also the unintended consequences, and player health and safety has clearly got to be at the top of our list. It is a priority for us. We have had lots of discussions about how we can make the offseason safer; reduce the type of contact that I think are concerns for all of us. The same with training camp and even the regular season.
“The way we did it, we said let’s implement these player health and safety changes immediately and evaluate those changes over the next two years and make a joint decision of whether it makes sense to go to an 18-game regular season. I know for a fact that the fans feel strongly that they don’t want preseason games anymore. This is one way to address that. There are other things that we’ll continue to evaluate.”
Goodell has chatted with other fans around the league and says that there’s been a common theme.
The No. 1 thing I hear from our fans is the passion for the game,” Goodell said. “They have a very important perspective on what they love about the game, what they don’t love about the game. Obviously the labor issues are on the fans’ minds, and we understand that. They share the same frustration we have and they just want it over with so they can get back to focusing on football. And that’s what our job is and that’s what we’ve got to do.”