In evaluating the NFL’s false statement that to protect any current or former Washington Commanders employees who requested anonymity in cooperation with the Beth Wilkinson investigation, all facts and findings must be kept in complete and absolute secrecy, we pointed to other situations in a simple edit. names of persons who feared retaliation or unwanted scrutiny.
As it turns out, we didn’t need to look as far as the examples. Rep. Jamie Ruskin (D-Md.) indicated during his interrogation Wednesday of Commissioner Roger Goodell that the editing was good enough for the league, in report created by the Miami bullying scandal featuring Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin.
“In the case of the Dolphins, as far as I remember, no one asked for any kind of confidentiality,” Goodell said.
“They did it because their names were redacted,” Raskin remarked.
“In Washington, not only did they ask for privacy, in many cases we also promised them privacy,” Goodell said.
“That’s what the editorial board is for,” Ruskin replied.
Goodell, finally cornered, gave a final excuse: “Congressman, I promise you, editing doesn’t always work in my world.”
But it worked with the dolphins. And Goodell misremembers if anyone asked for privacy. Here is a key excerpt from the Miami report:
“Because of the extreme public interest in this matter, the Commissioner has decided that the full report, as presented to him, without any edits or changes, will be published. Accordingly, we have tried to protect the privacy of some of the people we have interviewed or written about, recognizing that many of them never asked to be brought to attention. In some cases, witnesses specifically requested that their identities be kept confidential – some even seemed to fear possible retribution for cooperating with our investigation – and we complied with their requests. The NFLPA was sympathetic to privacy concerns raised by some witnesses and helped secure the necessary cooperation. We hope that, by demonstrating sensitivity to privacy issues and privacy requests, we will encourage witnesses to cooperate with any future NFL investigations (not related to this matter) that may lead to public reporting.”
Here’s how to strike a balance between secrecy and transparency. This is how the NFL has done it in the past. This is a precedent that has been truly forgotten (at best) or deliberately ignored (at worst) by 345 Park Avenue. (We’d bet on the latter.)
The most plausible explanation is that the NFL thinks we’re stupid enough to believe that privacy cannot be guaranteed without absolute secrecy. Or that the NFL is stubborn enough (and Goodell is experienced enough) to repeat insincere points with a straight face until the awkward conversation inevitably ends.
However, perhaps giving the NFL the benefit of the doubt, powerful Commanders owner Daniel Snyder reverse-engineers Wilkinson’s record to figure out the names of each and every one whose name was removed from the final record. . But if that’s the case—if the NFL rightly believes Snyder is so vengeful that he’ll devote time and money to finding out who the anonymous employees were in order to get back at them—why haven’t they already taken steps to get rid of them? his?