The 2022 NFL draft officially kicked off on April 28, and the Las Vegas spectators were not shy about expressing their true feelings toward commissioner Roger Goodell. As soon as the 63-year-old took the stage to declare the start of the draft, the crowd immediately began booing him and refused to let up once he started speaking.
Now, the disapproving responses didn't end there; anytime Roger appeared on stage to announce a team's selection, fans in attendance vigorously booed him. Well, what's up with that? Why does the NFL commissioner always get booed?
Why does the NFL commissioner get booed?
It's not an NFL draft if there's isn't a massive crowd booing commissioner Roger Goodell. The opportunity to react this way toward him isn't as surprising as many are making it out to be — it's a well-established tradition in the NFL community.
As the figurehead of the NFL, the multimillionaire is the person everyone loves to hate. So, if something doesn't go the fans' way, he's the one to take the fall. Therefore, crowds can't resist the chance to unleash their anger through a negative response.
The reaction dates back as far as 2016, and it doesn't seem to be letting up; in fact, we believe the boos are getting rowdier each NFL draft. But, with Roger extending his contract in 2019, it appears he doesn't mind being the target of intense booing.
Sometimes, we think Roger even embraces the boos; during the 2020 NFL draft — which was virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic — he paused his speech to allow the fans to boo him virtually.
"It's a draft tradition and one that I genuinely enjoy ... let's hear it from you right now," Roger said of the booing during the 2020 NFL draft before pivoting to the monitor behind him.
Soon, the computer screen displayed NFL buffs nationwide booing him, including former New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan. Roger even told Michael that he "could do better than that." OK, that's iconic behavior if you ask us!
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman also gets booed.
Sure, it seems Roger Goodell is public enemy No. 1 in the sports industry; however, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is also subject to very harsh boos anytime he appears in front of the hockey fanbase. While this may also be a tradition, Puck Prose reported that the 69-year-old is genuinely despised by NHL fans for several reasons.
For one, lockouts have become a common occurrence in the league. Before Gary assumed the position as commissioner, the NHL never once had a lockout; but, since he's taken over, there have been three lockouts, "including the only time in North American professional sports history an entire season was canceled back in 2004–2005."
Additionally, NHL fans claim that Gary has commercialized the game of hockey to stay relevant and secure in the sports business. Finally, many believe he made the sport "soft," but we simply think the safety precautions are evolving to protect its athletes.