The arrogant and conceited Commissioner of the National Football League took on the fans over the National Anthem and they sacked him and then spiked the ball.

NFL chief Roger Goodell has backed away from his support for those egotistical millionaires who tried to make a mockery out of our flag by refusing to stand for the National Anthem. Goodell misjudged the public's sentiments on this issue and the league has paid dearly. Attendance at some venues is down. Television viewership continues to slide. Advertisers are angry. And according to one recent poll, sports fans no longer consider football to be America's favorite game.

Goodell misfired, believing that fans would continue to support football even if they disagreed with the Anthem protests. He was wrong. He also miscalculated the impact of the Trump Administration's involvement in the dispute.

Many team owners including Patriot's front man Bob Kraft and Cowboy's owner Jerry Jones also believed the game was bigger than the American spirit and sided with the players instead of the fans. Jones has since rethought that position and has put his players on notice that they had better be standing when the stars and stripes are presented.

The resentment and outrage among football fans was simmering before Trump got involved. By last Sunday, it boiled over when Vice President Pence and his family walked out on a game where players knelt for the National Anthem.

Two days later Goodell was forced to retreat and issued the following statement;

"The current dispute over the National Anthem is threatening to erode the unifying power of our game, and is now dividing us, and our players, from many fans across the country."

The statement continues;

"Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem. It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us. We also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues. The controversy over the Anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues. We need to move past this controversy, and we want to do that together with our players."

Will the players honor Goodell's request that they stand for the National Anthem?  We shall see.

Goodell has mishandled this controversy from day one. He sided with spoiled, overpaid and pampered players rather than the fan base that keeps the league in business. It was only after President Trump questioned why the NFL was receiving tax breaks while its players disrespected the flag that Goodell finally acted to resolve this dispute.

Roger Goodell has had a questionable run as NFL Commissioner, facing one controversy after another. Perhaps it's time for a change. I vote for Condi Rice for NFL Commissioner.

What do you think?

Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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