Roger Goodell addresses NFL’s slow desicion to postpone Bills-Bengals
“We had to give them that opportunity.”
In the immediate aftermath of Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffering a cardiac arrest on Monday night against the Bengals, the NFL drew plenty of criticism for their handling of a game frozen at a standstill.
While Hamlin first collapsed to the field at Cincinnati’s Paycor Stadium, it took over 15 minutes for the game to be temporarily suspended — and almost another 40 minutes for the contest to officially be postponed.
In the days following Hamlin’s medical emergency, NFL executive VP of football operations Troy Vincent denied a report that the league told Bills/Bengals players that they’d only have five minutes to warm up before continuing play after Hamlin was taken off the field in an ambulance.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who was in attendance for Sunday’s Bills-Patriots game in Buffalo, joined 98.5 The Sports Hub to discuss the league’s decision to postpone Monday’s game, guaranteed contracts for players, and much more.
While Goodell acknowledged that he ultimately made the decision to postpone Monday’s game following Hamlin’s injury, the delay when it came to making said announcement was due to the Bills/Bengals players discussing the scenario with their respective teams.
“[The decision] comes with a lot of discussion,” Goodell said. “The coaches, the players, they’re hearing from their players. You want to get all of that information. A standard practice would be to resume play, but when you get feedback that it may not be appropriate, that’s when Troy made the decision to suspend play — which was the right decision — and allow everyone to go back [and gather themselves] and get more information, which was clear we needed to do. And then I made the decision to postpone shortly thereafter.”
Goodell added: “But in many times we were prepared to make that decision. The players wanted to continue discussing it with their teams. And, you know, we had to give them that opportunity.
The NFL commissioner also addressed the league’s stance on guaranteed contracts in wake of Hamlin’s medical emergency, noting that such a tweak to the collective bargaining agreement would have to be part of an extended conversation with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA).
While the Bills are currently paying Hamlin in full while he recovers, the framework on his “split contract” means that Hamlin normally would have been paid far less than his usual salary for however long he was on injured reserve.
“Well, I think as always, all those issues evolve, particularly through collective bargaining agreements. So those are things that we’ll continue to look at as time goes on,” Goodell said. “But those are issues that we saw with the Players Association — which I would add, too, were a big part of the decision-making [on Monday night].”
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