With more horrifying domestic abuse reports connected to NFL players rolling in last week, commissioner Roger Goodell held a press conference on Friday, attempting to set the record straight regarding the league’s plans for handling the issue. Instead, as John Oliver pointed out on Sunday’s installment of Last Week Tonight, Goodell mostly side-stepped their true course of action by using generic rhetoric and non-specific details.
In the above clip, Oliver shows a montage of moments from the press conference, during which Goodell filled 45 minutes with comments like “These incidents demonstrate that we can use the NFL to help create change” and “We have to change what we’re doing.” The most frustratingly vague line? “There will be changes to our personal conduct policy. I know this because…we will make it happen.”
Oliver makes special note of Goodell’s awkward interaction with a TMZ reporter, who notes that their publication – who leaked the disturbing video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancée in the face – found out about the incident by making “one phone call,” while the NFL failed to bring the issue to light despite employing an entire legal department. “You know things are not going well when you lose the moral high ground to a TMZ reporter,” Oliver says. “A man whose employer ran a story this week titled ‘Nicki Minaj Bamboobles Her Ass Critics.‘”
Oliver also praises retired wide receiver Sidney Rice, who tweeted, “Boo this man,” along with a ghost emoji, in response to Goodell’s statements. “I really think that says it all,” Oliver says. “Bravo, Sidney. Bravo!”
The NFL’s domestic abuse saga has reached a fever pitch in recent months. Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy was found guilty of assaulting and threatening an ex-girlfriend back in July; he has been placed on the exempt list while he awaits his appeal. Running back Adrian Peterson has been banned by the Minnesota Vikings from all team activities following an incident in which he disciplined his four-year-old son with a switch. Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer was deactivated from the team following his arrest for breaking his wife’s nose after she refused to have sex, according to police. San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald was arrested for suspicion of felony domestic abuse against his pregnant fiancée; he has yet to be officially charged, and his team is avoiding punishment while the investigation plays out.