By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The modern world is full of internet trolls.
Roger Goodell’s wife is one of them.
In a story reported by The Wall Street Journal, a Twitter account by the name of @forargument has been vehemently and passionately defending the NFL commissioner against unfavorable news coverage. That account belonged to Jane Skinner Goodell, the former Fox News anchor who married Roger Goodell in 1997.
She confirmed the reporting in the WSJ story.
“It was a REALLY silly thing to do and done out of frustration — and love,” she told the WSJ’s Andrew Beaton. “As a former media member, I’m always bothered when the coverage doesn’t provide a complete and accurate picture of a story. I’m also a wife and a mom. I have always passionately defended the hard-working guy I love — and I always will. I just may not use Twitter to do so in the future!”
Unfortunately, she deleted the Twitter account upon being discovered by the reporter — which is kind of an ironic move for someone so passionate about people getting a complete and accurate picture of a story.
However, Beaton compiled several tweets that showed the types of commentary she would send.
In an ESPN story by Seth Wickersham about a week of chaos in the NFL amid the protests during the national anthem, she tweeted to Wickersham, “Reads like press release from players’ union. You can do better reporting. ([NFLPA president DeMaurice] Smith sounds like [Donald] Trump with the inaccurate firebombs).”
As of Thursday afternoon, that tweet was still visible via cached Google search:
When Wall Street Journal sports writer Jason Gay jokingly said that three Patriots fans who posed for a photo with Goodell would be disowned by their family’s, Goodell’s wife wrote, “Why is everyone so immature? (including you?)”
A look at responses to @forargument show that she didn’t often make much headway in terms of generating responses from reporters and media outlets. One reporter –Jared Dubin — however, thanked @forargument for correcting the very important fact that Goodell ate dinner with former commissioner Paul Tagliabue instead of serving as his driver.
At least Dubin now knows why that one random person on the internet was so broken up about this grave error in reporting.
Beaton said that one major giveaway to the identity behind the Twitter account was in the list of accounts followed by @forargument.
“She [followed] four accounts connected to the high school attended by the Goodells’ twin daughters,” he wrote.
When contacted by the Journal, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said, “Sounds like what she did is what every spouse in America would want to do.”
Fair enough, as most people can relate to that. It is, however, magnificently humorous that the wife of the man who has proven to have either operated deceitfully or flat-out lied in some of the NFL’s most publicized moments over the years has taken issue with what she deems to be inaccurate reporting. (Sorry, there weren’t enough words in that previous sentence to fit all of the relevant links of Roger Goodell’s deceitful operations, questionable practices and most-shady behavior. Hey, even that sentence wasn’t long enough to cover some of the things Goodell has said that aren’t just dishonest but are reckless and dangerous.)
The secret Twitter account is just an enjoyable twist for a league that demands “transparency” from so many people yet never holds itself to the same standard.
As Goodell has alienated himself from multiple teams and several owners and various fan bases, the common refrain is that “when you get paid $30 million, sometimes you just have to be the bad guy. Sometimes you have to serve as the public punching bag for the owners. It’s part of the job.”
That sentiment remains true, but it’s clearly not a belief shared by his wife.