By Steve Corkran
Sunday, December 9th, 2012 at 12:40 pm in Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders don’t resume practice until Monday. In the interim, here’s the transcript from a 6 1/2-minute question-and-answer session with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Naturally, Goodell had some interesting things to say about the Raiders stadium issue. The Raiders current lease expires after the 2013 season. As of now, the most likely scenario involves the Raiders extending the lease while they continue to find a long-term solution.
Here’s the entire transcript:
Q: What message does it send to rest of league that Alex Smith loses job after concussion?
Goodell: “That it’s about safety first. Competitiveness is not going to be the number one driver. It’s going to be safety. When someone gets injured those are medical decisions and those have to be made by the medical professionals. The football decisions are made later when a player is healthy. That’s what the 49ers have done.”
Q: Concerned player might hide concussion?
Goodell: “I hope not and I don’t expect they will.”
Q: Concerned player might hide concussion
Goodell: “That’s always been a challenge for us making sure players self-report. It’s not that simple. You have to have a good teammate next to him if he’s not right. We have ATC spotters watching from upstairs who can spot when somebody has had an impact that made lead to a concussion so they can be evaluated. You want to make sure they are all evaluated properly and that the right decisions are made from a medical standpoint.”
Q: Will competition committee look at replacing kickoffs with 4th and 15 from 30?
Goodell: “The competition committee will consider it. It was something (Buccaneers coach) Greg Schiano came up with when he was coach at Rutgers. I asked about it at a dinner we were having, had he had any ideas about the kickoff. That was something he had given a great deal of thought to. I thought it was an interesting idea. The committee will look at it.”
Q: What do you like about that?
Goodell: “I think it is very interesting. I think it is worth considering.”
Q: What is there that you and the league can do to help the Raiders work out something to where they’re able to remain in Oakland? We talked to you a couple years ago, have they closed that gap? Seen any progress?
Goodell: “I think the first thing is, we now have a new collective bargaining agreement since we spoke, and I think that collective bargaining agreement in and of itself will be helpful because it does a great job of making sure the economics are balanced among all 32 teams and of course the players. And we also have got a new stadium funding mechanism in there that the league can provide up to $200 million of financing to a new stadium project. I think those are very significant changes and should be helpful, yes.”
Q: So, the fact that the 49ers …
Goodell: “And we’re seeing it. We’re seeing it with the 49ers, we’re seeing it in Minnesota, Atlanta’s making a lot of progress. I’d go back and tell you also the 10-year labor agreement. When you have that kind of certainty for 10 years it should be very helpful in getting these projects done.”
Q: There’s a lot of speculation about the Raiders possibly moving to Los Angeles. Where does the Los Angeles situation stand in terms of a team?
Goodell: “Basically where we’ve been. Unfortunately we’re still looking to make sure we have a stadium solution. It all comes down to a stadium solution. And if we can find the right kind of stadium solution, we’ll work on a team at that point.”
Q: Why is a stadium most important to keeping the team here?
Goodell: “Because it’s our stage. It’s part of where we present our game. It’s the biggest part. And it’s also really important to the fan experience. Having full stadiums is critical for us. We want to have our fans in the stadium, we want to make sure they have the best facilities, we want to make sure the teams can generate enough revenue to be successful and competitive.”
Q: When do you expect a ruling from former commissioner Paul Tagliabue on the bounty case?
Goodell: “That’s up to him.”
Q: In light of the Jovan Belcher situation, you mentioned there’s a program in this area. What about for teams at their own facility to avoid a situation like Kansas City?
Goodell: “Sure, that’s where the programs are really executed. We have player development directors on each team, they implement the programs that we do across all 32 teams, and we have to continue to look for new programs. I think this program we announced this summer on mental health will be a big help with that. Again it’s about getting access for players with families to identify issues and make sure they’re properly treated, and that can be a very positive change.”
Q: See two teams in the 49ers stadium?
Goodell: “The priority is what the community and the team work out. I think it’s a great benefit that there’s a stadium across the bay that’s going to be a state of the art facility. That’s terrific. So that’s an option if this community and the Raiders choose that. But that’s a decision they have to make. We the league are prepared to help fund facilities. And we’ll continue to do what we can to make sure our teams stay in their communities.”
Q: Will the NFL be involved in determining who moves to Los Angeles?
Goodell: “Ultimately that’s a league decision, takes 24 of the 32 teams to vote on any relocation.”
Q: Would the NFL be open to providing financial assistance for a stadium twice in the same area?
Goodell: “What do you mean? In what sense?”
Q: Providing $200 million to the Raiders situation after doing so for the 49ers new stadium?
Goodell: “Yes, we would do that. That’s not something that’s prohibited in the policy. We wouldn’t look at that as double dipping. We’d look at that as getting stages built in the community and we want to continue to do that.”
Q: What’s the problem in Oakland?
Goodell: “You all are closer to it than I am. I think people want to make sure the Raiders are here and want to make sure they do the right things, there are a lot of priorities in communities these days and those have to be balanced by the leadership both the public sector and the private sector. These are complicated issues and they have to be done intelligently so that they address community needs but they also work with the team long term.”