Richard Sherman might have been on to something.
The Seattle Seahawks cornerback didn’t waste any time firing some shots at the league and the New England Patriots over the DeflateGate scandal during his arrival news conference in Phoenix on Sunday. Sherman told the media the Pats will likely get off scot-free because of Robert Kraft’s close relationship with Roger Goodell.
Now, a GQ story on the NFL commissioner by Gabriel Sherman seems to reinforce the corner’s point.
The writer provides context to the close friendship Kraft and Goodell have, as evidenced by the Ray Rice scandal. According to the report, it was actually Kraft who pushed for Goodell to do the sit-down interview with CBS’s Norah O’Donnell the day after TMZ released the elevator video that showed Rice punching his now-wife in the face.
“Kraft had a request, as he often did,” Gabriel Sherman writes. “According to a person with knowledge of their conversation, he wanted Goodell to get on-camera with CBS News anchor Norah O’Donnell and deal with the controversy before it spun even further out of control.”
Kraft’s request came the same day he did his own interview with Charlie Rose where he maintained Goodell had no knowledge of the video.
It marked the first time Goodell spoke publicly since suspending Rice indefinitely, and he remained adamant in the interview that no one in the NFL viewed the tape. The GQ report goes on to say Kraft then went out of his way to sway other owners to come out and show support for Goodell.
“Goodell rarely went out front to face tough interviews. But Kraft was one of Goodell’s closest confidants among the NFL’s 32 owners, and his fiercest advocate and defender. As a member of the league’s compensation committee, Kraft has vigorously defended Goodell’s eye-popping $44 million pay package, and in the wake of the TMZ leak, he personally called owners and lobbied them to issue statements backing the commissioner, according to a senior league source.
“So large is Kraft’s sway with Goodell that one veteran NFL executive likes to call him “the assistant commissioner.”
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@JimmyTraina