NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has been reaching out to fans during the league's lockout, communicating the message of the owners while also listening to what the paying customers are pleased with or concerned about regarding the sport. On Wednesday night Goodell spoke with Dolphins season-ticket holders, and in the coming weeks, he is also scheduled to speak with fans of the Browns, Chargers, Giants and 49ers.
Here is a sample of the commissioner's fan forum with Miami fans:
On the goal of mediation in Minnesota:
What we hope to get accomplished is a collective bargaining agreement. Ultimately, it is what we need to do to bring the game of football to all of our fans. We are going to work hard within the context of the mediator's instructions. We will work whatever period of time they need to get to that agreement. We have a lot to do, but the right thing to do is to be negotiating and to be meeting with one another because that is what is going to lead to a collective bargaining agreement. We are anxious to get back to the negotiating table and hopefully will get something done.
On why the NFLPA decertified:
I can't answer that question. The players' association made that choice. I can tell you that I agree with the premise of what you are saying that these issues don't get resolved unless you are negotiating, unless you are meeting and unless you are addressing the issues that will lead to a broad collective bargaining agreement. We have a lot of issues to resolve. I know you as fans want football. That is what we have to get done. … I am hopeful that this will be the start of a negotiation that will lead to a successful conclusion.
On quality of play being affected this year by a limited offseason:
What all of you as fans love and I love as a fan is the quality of the game and the competitiveness of the game. Obviously, there are some teams that have changed coaches and changed their system. They need that work and time in the offseason and, of course, during the preseason. It is one of the reasons why we have to remove this uncertainty as soon as possible and why we need to get to the negotiations that will be restarting tomorrow and get this agreement done. Uncertainty is not good for the quality of the game, the fans, the teams nor our partners. It is something that we have to get done quickly
On if the majority of the owners today are in it to make money with the NFL as their main business:
I will tell you that it's clearly a big business and a popular business. I think we all know the tremendous following the NFL has, so it's an extraordinary opportunity and a privilege to own one of these franchises. I will tell you that I believe the owners own franchises in the NFL because they love the game. It's a unique opportunity to have a team in a community that represents that community, to make a difference in the community. I think that is why owners are in it. Of course, they want the business to work. Of course, they want to make sure that the business model makes sense. They have to make investments in the game. We all have to oversee the future of this game and what we want is a collective bargaining agreement that's going to work for the teams and the players and allow us to continue to keep this game great. That takes an investment, whether it's in a stadium or in the future of the game. We have to make sure that we have the kind of system that is going to encourage that going forward.