Lots of questions for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, not a lot of answers

ATLANTA — Faced with a blitz of officiating questions and queries about the effectiveness of the Rooney Rule, Colin Kaepernick’s football unemployment, and the cancellation of a news conference for a Super Bowl halftime show that has drawn hefty criticism, Roger Goodell scrambled and generally ducked the rush at his annual State of the NFL appearance.

Naturally, Goodell was peppered with questions, some bordering on demands, to upgrade the officiating 10 days after a non-call late in the NFC Championship Game pretty much cost the Saints a spot in the Super Bowl.

“We will look again at instant replay,” Goodell said. “There have been a variety of proposals over the last — frankly 15 to 20 years — of should replay be expanded? It does not cover judgment calls. This was a judgment call. The other complication is that it was a no-call.”

Goodell completely ruled out any use of commissioner’s powers to change the call or resume the game; a lawsuit was filed in New Orleans seeking that.

On other subjects:

• On Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback who some claim has been blackballed by the league for sparking social injustice and police brutality demonstrations during the national anthem:

“I think if a team decides that Colin Kaepernick or any other player can help their team win, that’s what they’ll do. They want to win and they make those decisions individually in the best interest of their club. Our clubs are the ones that make decisions on players they want to have on their roster. They make that decision individually in the best interests of their team.”

• On the effectiveness of the Rooney Rule, which encourages hiring minority candidates for coaching jobs, after a report that on 2018 coaching staffs, only four minorities held the stepping-stone jobs of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, just 7.1 percent of 56 jobs.

That lack of minority coaches in the pipeline helped contribute to the NFL’s sharpest-ever one-year drop in minority head coaches, from eight to four, with Brian Flores soon to become the fourth when he moves from the Patriots to the Dolphins.

“We don’t look at the success or failure of the Rooney Rule in one-year increments,” Goodell said. “We’ve had the Rooney Rule around for nearly 20 years. It has had an extraordinary impact on the NFL. Over 20 clubs have hired minority (head) coaches in that period of time.

“We want to figure out how we can create a deeper pool of coaches so that they have that opportunity when the coaching opportunities arise.”

Rams’ player got death threats: Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman was the target of New Orleans fans after the play during which he was not penalized for his hit on Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis — and Robey-Coleman reports seeing threats on his life crawl into his Instagram feed.

“Yeah, I had like one or two death threats,” Robey-Coleman said. “I mean, it wasn’t anything that I really paid attention to. … I ignored them and moved on.”

No threats reported: The NFL is not aware of any security threats against the Super Bowl, the league’s top security officer said. “We have no credible or specific threats that have been brought to our attention,” NFL chief security officer Cathy Lanier said.

Homeland Security employees are committed to keeping the Super Bowl secure, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said.

More than 600 employees from her agency will be protecting the city.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Lots-of-questions-for-NFL-Commissioner-Roger-13575657.php.

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