As part of SB Nation's conversation with Roger Goodell and Jeff Pash this afternoon, we asked about Adrian Peterson's recent comments comparing playing in the NFL to modern-day slavery.
On Adrian Peterson's comments:
Jeff Pash: I think you have to look at those comments in the context of what Ben Dogra [Peterson's agent] said right afterwards. I think he put them in context. Adrian Peterson is an outstanding player and a great contributor to this league. It's a highly emotional situation right now, so I don't think you can hold everyone to every word they say.
Roger Goodell: Adrian Peterson was at the Draft a few years ago, was one of the first Drafts I was Commissioner at. He's an outstanding young man. I have nothing but great respect for him. Big fan of his, both as a player and an individual.
The use of the phrase "modern-day slavery" was a bad choice by Peterson. But if you read his full statement, it's not quite as jarring as it is when taken with no context. I think Peterson deserves a pass for bad word choice.
The new proposed rule changes concerning the kickoff will likely greatly reduce the importance of the play, the competitive aspect of it, almost rendering it useless. I wanted to know about that and asked the commissioner.
On proposed rule changes - taking the kickoff out of the game as a competitive play and on suspensions for illegal hits - will they be handled case by case or will there be a system?
Roger Goodell: As you know, the major focus we have when our competition committee meets and looks at our rules is player health and safety. We also meet with our players and our players have indicated to us that this is one of those players that they think we need to address from a safety standpoint. We have been looking at this for quite some time, monitoring it and the competition committee in their study of this, in order to try to make the game as safe as possible. Looking at changes to make that play safer. We look at injury rates. We look at everything that goes into the quality of our game Including the competitive aspects of it. We want to make this game safe. We want to make it exciting. And we obviously want to make it competitive. But the rules would be the same for all 32 clubs. But we will be making the judgment on this based on the competition committee's proposal and making the game as safe as possible.
Wasn't the full explanation I wanted, but it's interesting to note that the way Goodell answered, it almost made it seem like the players requested these changes.