Sam Nadler is a senior at Vanderbilt University studying history.
National Football League (NFL) commissioner Roger Goodell stood at a press conference on September 19th, 2014, in his first public comments addressing the Ray Rice fiasco enveloping the NFL. Rice was initially suspended for only two games after a video was released showing him dragging his fiancé out of an elevator, but when TMZ released a second video of Rice actually knocking his then-fiancée Janay Rice unconscious, backlash to the NFL’s decision grew. After this second video was released, Goodell changed the initial suspension to an indefinite suspension. Goodell, visibly uncomfortable, struggled through the press conference, and afterwards the public was clearly not satisfied with Goodell's answers.
Only months earlier, Adam Silver, Goodell's National Basketball Association (NBA) counterpart, also stood at a podium addressing a controversy in his league. Donald Sterling, the then-owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, was recorded by his girlfriend V. Stiviano making racist remarks during a phone call. Silver left no room for doubt when he suspended Sterling for life from all league association and announced the initiation of proceedings to force Sterling to sell his team. In contrast to Goodell, he was not on the defensive, trying to protect himself and his league, but instead on the offensive. Also unlike Goodell, Silver was praised after the press conference for his quick and decisive action.