BOSTON (CBS) — Roger Goodell never played in the league he runs. But when hit with questions about President Donald Trump during his Super Bowl LI press conference on Wednesday, the NFL commissioner showed off his ability to sidestep like a quarterback avoiding an oncoming pass rush.
Goodell was hit with a pair of Trump-related questions during his time in the spotlight, first asked about the President’s recent immigration ban. Goodell had little to say about the topic.
“As commissioner of the NFL, I’m singularly focused on the Super Bowl right now,” he said, adding Sunday’s Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons “will bring the world together.”
Being singularly focused on Sunday’s game isn’t exactly true, as Goodell clamored over the great product the league put out this season, as well a Patriots-Raiders game in Mexico City scheduled for next season. But maybe that’s just part of the league bringing the world together.
The commissioner was also asked about a recent New York Times report that pointed out that mentions of Goodell and Trump were removed from the transcripts from Monday’s Opening Night media sessions for both teams. Via the New York Times report:
Of the transcripts provided for the interviews with 26 of the Patriots players and coaches and 28 of the Falcons players and coaches, the name “Trump” does not appear in any of them, and the word “president” appears only in reference to team presidents, despite reporters’ having asked about them. The name “Goodell” appears just once.
The commish easily dodged that one as well.
“I am not aware of anything being deleted from transcripts or anything else,” he said. “That’s one thing I am not in charge of here.”
To be fair, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick (who have relationships with Trump) have both stiff armed any Trump-related questions throughout the week. New England tight end Martellus Bennett seems to be the only one open to answering questions about the country’s new leader, saying on Monday night that he would “likely” skip a trip to the White House should the Patriots get the invite as Super Bowl LI champs.