I was reading some posts on a website I like, and I saw where someone said Roger Goodell is the “second or third worst commissioner in sports.” Considering there are only four sports, that’s not horrible. That did get me thinking: Where does Goodell rate among the four commissioners in sports?
Let’s do a run down of the four commissioners; rated in order:
Bud Selig, Major League Baseball: After a turbulent start where he reigned over the only cancellation of the World Series, Selig has led baseball through a long stretch of labor peace. Agreements satisfactory to the players and ownership are now routine. Baseball, once the worst example of labor-owner relations is now clearly the best. Players are well paid, and owners are making money on their teams. Plus, Selig seems to actually love baseball, a rarity among commissioners.
Gary Bettman, NHL: Thoroughly hated by fans and players alike for his NBA front office position and presiding over an ill-fated expansion and movement of teams, Bettman earned his status by leading the owners on a season-long lockout. No doubt, Bettman is revered by owners for restoring some semblance of balance to the NHL. The game might not exist as a league if it wasn’t for Bettman, and in all honesty, he’s probably done more for that sport than anyone will ever know.
David Stern: Routinely breaks the NBA Players Association, who unfortunately never capitalize on the fact the league has nothing else except the players. There’s little in the way of tradition, except with The Lakers. Stern’s marketing campaign focused on the superstars, leaves the NBA cold in cities where there are none. At last count, that’s about 23 cities frozen out by their own commissioner. Let us not mention the discipline common in that league, which defies logic.
Roger Goodell, NFL: A union breaker to whatever extent there’s a NFL Players Association; serves as a rubber stamp for ownership. Goodell has been a disciplinarian, not for safety reasons but those financial. Goodell doesn’t communicate well with fans, but has established media relationships where he has great support. It’s hard to be a bad commissioner in football, but Goodell manages to pull it off. It’s the players, stupid!