‘Roger Goodell Works For The Owners. He Is A Pawn’ | Damien Woody Says Black People Can’t Solve White People Problems 

(Photo: Getty Images)

The “Get Up” crew had a passionate exchange on Thursday, Feb. 3, morning about former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores’ allegations that owner Stephen Ross offered him six-figure incentives to tank games and try less hard to win in 2019.  

Flores has risked his entire career to file a class-action suit against the NFL for hiring discrimination and by putting these explosive accusations into the air. The 40-year-old Brooklyn native says he understands the risks involved but feels compelled to martyr himself if necessary because “we need change.” 

READ: Brian Flores Being Fired Was A Shock| Where Will Black HC & GM Candidates Land? – The Shadow League

Damien Woody came in hot when it was his opportunity to bless the mic. The two-time Super Bowl champion said the topic of racial discrimination and lack of minority hires in the NFL should be directed at the white power structure.  

“It’s exhausting, to be honest with you,” Woody lamented. “We have these types of conversations, these issues come up all the time, and we have these conversations with Black coaches and Black players and what needs to be done. And quite honestly, there’s nothing that we can say that’s going to change anything.
Hopefully, you would think that this lawsuit would shed some light … some transparency on the actual hiring process. That would be my hope.”

The NFL hiring cycle for head coaches has been another embarrassing representation of the systemic issues that exist within the NFL’s executive branches. 

There were nine openings and several highly touted Black coaches up for grabs. So far four of those positions have been filled with white coaches. 

Some Black sideline stalkers such as offensive coordinators Byron Leftwich (Tampa Bay Bucs) and Eric Bieniemy have more social media following because they manage elite quarterbacks and go deep into the playoffs every season. Others, like defensive coordinators Patrick Graham (New York Giants) and DeMeco Ryans (San Francisco 49ers) and Aaron Glenn (Detroit Lions), don’t come with the pomp and circumstance, but are more than ready to lead a team. 

Don’t Ask Me & Definitely Don’t Ask The NFL Commissioner

“But ultimately, Greenie, what this really comes down to is this,” Woody insisted. “We don’t need to ask the Black players or coaches because we know where they stand. We don’t need to ask Roger Goodell, because Roger Goodell works for the owners. He is a pawn. These questions can only be answered by the guys who are in power.”

Stephen Ross has, of course, totally disputed Flores’ allegations as “false and malicious.” If there’s no one to corroborate Flores’ story it will be a matter of one man’s word against another. You’d really have to wonder why he’d make it up. 

The NFL has already jumped out of the window and dismissed Flores’ allegations of discrimination in his interviews with the Denver Broncos, where John Elway reportedly showed up smashed, and the New York Giants, who already had Brian Daboll secured before giving Flores the token Rooney Rule look. 

Bill Belichick’s inability to use a phone let that one out of the bag. 

As the next phase of this legal process takes shape, to Woody’s point, the owners will stand by each other and take sides against anyone who tries to criticize their way of doing business, mainly because it makes them billions of dollars. So why should they ever start to see things from another perspective? 

In their estimation (or so it seems) equality is bad for business in a free enterprise market anyway. Closed mouths don’t get fed. But closed minds and deep pockets do. 

“If we want to get to the root cause and why these things continue to happen where there’s only one Black coach in the National Football League with 70 percent of the players being African-American … that’s a damn shame,” said Woody. “We need to point it to one place and one place only. To the owners who control the situation.” 

Until the conversation surrounding these issues is seen as important to the owners or affect them financially, then in the words of the great R&B crooner and songwriter Keith Sweat, “merry go round and round.”


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JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.