There's a lot to be said about the highs and lows of the NFL. Football as a sport is as satisfying as it is dissatisfying, but there's rarely a time when fans can express their frustration with the league itself. Every year at the NFL Draft, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell takes the stage to some applause... and many boos.
Why do people hate Roger Goodell so much? Read on to learn everything we know.
Why do fans boo NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell? It's not that personal.
Roger Goodell has been commissioner of the NFL for nearly 15 years since 2006. He signed a new contract in 2019, so it's safe to say Roger doesn't plan on going anywhere in the next few years. The son of former Congressman and U.S. Senator for New York Charles Goodell, many thought that the fact he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth meant he wasn't qualified for his job.
The tradition of booing Roger Goodell at the NFL Draft started as recently as 2016: As soon as Roger walked onstage to announce a team's draft selection, the boos began. This curious phenomenon has carried through every year without fail, despite ESPN's best efforts to quiet them by muffling audio. On April 28, 2021, fans in Cleveland rang in the 2021 draft with a choir of uncontained rage.
Why do people boo Commissioner Roger Goodell? The answer isn't exactly clear. The commissioner is the person who takes the blame for unpopular decisions that keep the league happy, such as rule changes or contract holdouts. Roger himself is known for being a multi-millionaire who is rarely seen outside his luxury box at games, and has become a sort of stand-in for "The Man" for dissatisfied sports fans.
He's the person everyone loves to hate, and therefore, audiences can't resist the opportunity to vent their frustrations, even if the NFL Draft only happens once a year. Roger Goodell is the figurehead of the NFL, and it's his job to hand out punishments when players break the rules. On a more personal level, Roger has seen more NFL nightmares than prior commissioners, such as lockouts, replacement referees, and Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) science that gives football a bad name.
Roger Goodell isn't the only sports league commissioner to get booed.
While it might seem like the boos target Roger personally, he isn't the only commissioner to get harassed. National Hockey League (NHL) Commissioner Gary Bettman gets booed every year like clockwork. Adam Silver, the National Basketball Association (NBA) Commissioner, is also booed annually, although the tradition of booing the person in his role began before his tenure as commissioner.
Maybe it's not the commissioners themselves but what they represent: "unfair" rules, regulations, or other gripes people have with the leagues themselves. Many times commissioners are responsible for benching players with accusations against them. Whatever the reason, hearing the boos live and in-person this year is music to football fans' ears.
Watch the NFL Draft on ABC, ESPN, or the NFL Network, or check it out virtually.