Just got done reading page after page of the new NFL collective bargaining agreement summary.
Guess what? Nowhere in any of the bullet points, graphs, charts or info bubbles does it say the players have to like league commissioner Roger Goodell. Or that Goodell has to like them back.
And when the nearly 400-page CBA is signed by Goodell and NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, there won't be a section, article or single sentence that requires the commish and players to be BFFs with each other. Not a word.
So why then did Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison call Goodell a "puppet," "dictator," "devil" and "crook"? Why did Steelers safety Ryan Clark tell ESPN's Mike and Mike, "He obviously hasn't cared what the players thought"? Why did free agent defensive end Ray Edwards recently say, "I don't like him"?
Goodell is no statesman. Then again, he wasn't hired to be one. He was hired by NFL owners to articulate their position on all things management. He isn't their puppet, but he is their employee. He also knows who butters his bread -- and it isn't the players holding the stick of Land O'Lakes.
Goodell's mistake was representing himself as a partner of sorts with the players. And the players' mistake was believing him.