NEW YORK (Feb. 2, 2015) – One of the most exciting Super Bowls in history is over, and the repair work on the NFL’s image is just beginning. One of the league’s top executives says the recent year of scandals in the league is the worst he has seen in his 22 years as an NFL player and executive. NFL EVP Football Operations Troy Vincent addresses the NFL’s problems and its responses to them, including the origin of “Deflategate” and the antics of Marshawn Lynch, in an interview with Armen Keteyian on the next edition of 60 MINUTES SPORTS, premiering Tuesday, Feb. 3 at 10 p.m. ET/PT only on SHOWTIME.
Asked by Keteyian if he has ever seen such a bad year for the NFL, Vincent replies, “To answer your question, no.” Over the past year the league has been saddled with scandals and criticized for its response to them. Among the problems faced by the NFL was the class action concussion lawsuit, the Adrian Peterson child-abuse story, the Ray Rice domestic abuse charges and then “Deflategate.”
The NFL was accused of dragging its feet in its investigation and discipline of Rice when the world saw him violently punching his girlfriend. The harshest criticism came from an independent report from former FBI Director Robert Mueller revealing that the NFL’s own investigator did little more than read newspaper accounts of the Rice affair. Asked about Mueller’s report, Vincent says he did not read it.
Asked why he didn’t read the report, Vincent replies, “The crime had already been committed…We acknowledge we made a mistake. We didn’t apply the proper discipline.” Pressed by Keteyian that it was more than inadequately disciplining Rice that the report exposed, but the league’s incompetence, Vincent says, “We failed. From that exercise, and that horrific situation, we got better. Our processes are better. We have now experts who—true experts and investigators working alongside our staff…We can’t go back in time.”
On “Deflategate,” Vincent confirmed that the Indianapolis Colts GM Ryan Grigson told the NFL in the second quarter of the AFC Championship Game that the New England Patriots might be tampering with the footballs.
On Marshawn Lynch, whose crotch-grabbing end zone antics and appearances at Super Bowl Media Day have embarrassed the league, Vincent says “Well, we try. We communicate. There’s been discipline.” But it hasn’t worked Keteyian points out. “Right,” says Vincent. “But you…can’t stop trying. I take full responsibility that I have to do a better job of educating.”