DALLAS — One has to wonder what went through Roger Goodell‘s head as he stared out into the sea of reporters gathered for his annual pre-Super Bowl press conference and heard the familiar voice of one very outspoken player brave enough to stand up and ask the commissioner a question.
“Dad…” came through the speakers amid a bevy of laughter from those on hand, who realized just who was standing in the middle of the room, microphone in hand and dressed in a black leather jacket.
“Sorry, I didn’t get your name,” a smiling Goodell interrupted.
“Chad Ochocinco, OCNN. Powered by Motorola Zoom.”
As promised beforehand on his Twitter page, the Bengals wide receiver faced the commissioner, looking for answers.
“You represent 32 NFL owners. And right now I’m standing here representing 1,800 NFL players,” Ochocinco said. “We want to know one thing — seriously, we don’t want the politically correct answer.
“Do you know how far we are from getting a deal realistically done? What is the the real timetable to get it done? Because I see a lot of things being prepared on your guys’ end. You guys are somewhat preparing for a lockout.”
Give Ochocinco some credit. Not many players would have been bold enough to do what he did, even if Goodell’s response likely wasn’t quite what Ochocinco was looking for.
“Well Chad, as I said before, I think both sides are prepared for every outcome,” Goodell responded. “But I can tell you the commitment on behalf of the ownership is to get an agreement, and we will get an agreement. And I think that’s only going to happen when there is intensive negotiations between your union and the owners. And that has to take place now. This is the window of opportunity to get this done right. Because otherwise uncertainty is going to seep into all of our operations and make it harder for everybody to reach that agreement. So right now, I’d say let’s get to work. Lets’ get an agreement that works for eveyrbody.”
Judging by Ochocinco’s body language — he bowed his head as he sat back down — Goodell didn’t give him what he wanted. Ochocinco later tweeted that he’s still waiting for a non-politically correct response.
“I asked @nflcommish a great question on behalf of all the players in hope for a realistic answer (not politically correct) #noanswerstill”
Ochocinco later made a public appearance in Dallas moments after the press conference, and again expressed his disappointment with Goodell’s answers.
“That was what I expected,” Ochocinco said. “He has an art of answering questions without answering a question.”
Ochocinco also took issue with the expansion of the 18-game season and health benefits, but did say that the two sides are going to eventually come to an agreement — mainly because they have to. But don’t expect that agreement to happen any time soon.
“We won’t have a free agency or a training camp, but they won’t mess with the games. I can guarantee you that,” he said.