To Understand Roger Goodell, Study His Father

To Understand Roger Goodell, Study His Father

Can we talk about Roger Goodell? Not Goodell's 39 percent approval rating, or his faceoffs with the players' union, the referees' union, reporters, Jerry Jones, or Jonathan Vilma. No, let's talk about Roger Goodell's dad.


Senator Charles Goodell, a Republican from New York, was briefly and magnificently a '60s icon. He marched with Coretta Scott King in a Vietnam War protest. He palled around with Jane Fonda. Daniel Ellsberg asked his friend Charlie to leak the Pentagon Papers. In 1970, Noam Chomsky endorsed Charlie for reelection.


Our quest to understand Roger — to find the Rosebud that explains what kind of NFL commissioner he has become — ought to begin right here. Let's picture Goodell in 1969, as a 10-year-old boy. He's old enough to know his dad has become a liberal hero. He's old enough to know Richard Nixon is plotting his dad's destruction.

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