NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Is Booed Annually at the NFL Draft, but Why?

Why do people hate Roger Goodell? The NFL draft consistently opens with his speech, which is met with boos from the crowd, and fans are wondering why.


Apr. 27 2023, Updated 2:17 p.m. ET

Roger Goodell
Source: Getty Images

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.

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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.

Roger Goodell, current Commissioner of the NFL.
Source: Getty Images
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Why do people hate Roger Goodell? It's all about his title.

Roger Goodell has been Commissioner of the NFL 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.

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The tradition of booing Roger Goodell at the NFL Draft started as recently as 2016. As soon as Roger walks on stage to announce a team's draft selection, the boos begin.

This curious phenomenon has carried through every year since without fail, despite ESPN's best efforts to quiet them by muffling audio.

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Why do people boo the NFL Commissioner?

Why do people boo the NFL Commissioner? The answer isn't exactly clear. The commissioner is the person who takes the blame for unpopular decisions, 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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