Embattled NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a formal apology on Thursday to New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson, coach Sean Payton and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams for their roles – and more specifically, the cover-up – of the Saints Bountygate scandal.
Swarming in his own sea of turmoil after allegations that Goodell turned a blind eye to the video showing former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice hitting then-fiance Janay Palmer, the commissioner offered his mea culpa after flipping his stance on looking past heinous acts of violence and covering up punishable actions.
“I was quoted as saying ‘Ignorance is not a suitable defense.’ After careful review of all the evidence, I was wrong. Avoiding bad press and failing to report responsibly is always the best option,” Goodell said in an interview with ESPN.
Payton and Williams were suspended for the entire 2012 season and the Saints organization was fined $500,000 and lost two draft picks. Goodell told ESPN he is considering similar disciplinary actions for himself for his role in the cover-up.
“I know whatever punishment is given will be tough and just,” said Goodell. “But I fully expect the decision to be appealed. Then it’s up to the commissioner to figure out a course of action, and I know he’ll decide what’s best for me, er, the Shield.”