A noticeably uncomfortable Roger Goodell stepped up to the podium to begin the 2011 NFL Draft Thursday night, booed uncontrollably and murmuring asides to an unhappy crowd before he finally got a few on his side with “Let’s get back to some football.”
With every selection he received similar boos, even with Cam Newton on the stage with him. Goodell’s unctuous performance with the fans is unlikely to earn the NFL owners any new fans in the continuing NFL lockout controversy, especially if they’re finally granted their stay to continue the lockout.
Goodell is likely to see more boos this weekend—I’m not sure what he could do about it to change the situation, short of ending the lockout and committing ceremonial seppuku on the floor of Radio City Music Hall or announcing that the Carolina Panthers have successfully selected Peyton Manning with the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Free Agency Draft. Goodell isn’t lined up with the players people might see as greedy on Thursday—he’s lined up with a bunch of rookie who are happy to be there.