AP

NFL Commissioner Goodell tackles diversity, concussions

Feb 8, 2023, 12:46 AM | Updated: 4:59 pm

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a news conference ahead of the Super Bowl 57 football ...

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a news conference ahead of the Super Bowl 57 football game, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023, in Phoenix. The Kansas City Chiefs will play the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

(AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

PHOENIX (AP) — From diversity to concussions, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell reiterated the league is still looking for improvement.

As for officiating, he says: “it’s never been better.”

Goodell addressed those topics and more, including the Washington Commanders’ investigation, flex scheduling and international play in his annual Super Bowl news conference Wednesday.

DeMeco Ryans became the NFL’s third Black head coach when Houston hired the former Pro Bowl linebacker and 49ers defensive coordinator. Ryans joined Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin and Tampa Bay’s Todd Bowles. There are three other minority coaches, including Miami’s Mike McDaniel, who has a Black father and identifies as biracial.

The Titans hired Ran Carthon, the league’s eighth Black general manager and ninth person of color overall.

“I still feel like there’s better work and more work ahead of us,” Goodell said. “I think there’s progress and we’re pleased to see progress but there’s never enough. We look to see how we can make things better.”

Player safety is always a hot topic in the NFL. Concussions were magnified and the league revised its protocols during the season after criticism for the way Tua Tagovailoa’s head injuries were handled.

The NFL announced last week concussions had increased by 18 percent during the regular season. Goodell attributed the rise to the updated diagnostic measures.

“I think that’s a reason why concussions went up this year, because we had a broader definition,” Goodell said. “If you have more evaluations you’re going to have more concussions. Any time we can change the protocols to make it safer for our players, we’re going to do that. We’re not afraid of having them diagnosed. That’s important to us and why we encourage players to come forward when they have symptoms so we can make sure they are handled properly.”

Overall, Goodell said injuries are down 6% this year. He said injuries for Thursday games and for the additional Week 18 games are no different than any other time during the season.

“You want to take the head out of the game,” Goodell said. “You’re always going to have contacts that are not intended, so that’s why we have protections, but ultimately you want to have rules that are avoiding the techniques that lead to these kinds of injuries.”

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith pointed out the league and the players’ union have, since 2009, instituted return to-play protocols, brought in sideline concussion experts, revamped health and safety standards and made it a requirement for team doctors to comply with all federal and state guidelines.

“This has been a relentless effort to constantly improve safety,” Smith said.

Quality of NFL officiating has been scrutinized, especially in the playoffs. There was heavy criticism early in the season regarding roughing-the-passer penalties.

“When you look at officiating, I don’t think it’s ever been better in the league,” Goodell said. “There are over 42,000 plays in a season and multiple infractions could occur on any play. Take that out, extrapolate that. That’s hundreds, if not millions, of potential fouls. Our officials do an extraordinary job of getting those. Are there mistakes in the context of that? Yes. They are not perfect and officiating never will (be).”

___

COMMANDERS

Goodell said there’s no timeline for Mary Jo White to complete her ongoing investigation into allegations of misconduct by the owner Daniel Snyder. Goodell has said the report will be made public. Snyder and wife Tanya in early November hired a firm to explore possible transactions related to the team so it’s possible the Commanders will be sold.

“The Commanders are under a process. That’s their process,” Goodell said. “Ultimately, if they reach a conclusion and have someone joining the ownership group or buying the team, that’s something the ownership will look at.”

___

FLEX SCHEDULING

Goodell said Monday night games will be subject to flex scheduling next season. He added it’s possible Thursday night games also could be flexed at some point in the future.

___

INTERNATIONAL PLAY

The NFL played its first regular-season game in Germany this season and five teams will play home games in Germany and London in 2023. The league will return to Mexico in 2024 after stadium renovation.

___

Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter at https://twitter.com/robmaaddi

___

AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

NFL Commissioner Goodell tackles diversity, concussions