Over the weekend, New England Patriots team president Jonathan Kraft was doing a pre-game interview, and he had some interesting comments about the NFL's personal conduct policy. He was trying to avoid getting into Deflategate, and instead was focusing on the bigger issues we see with domestic violence, DUIs and other crimes.
"There probably needs to be a rethinking so that the league office and the commissioner aren't put in a spotlight in a way that detracts from the league's image and the game -- even if the league office is doing the right thing, or the wrong thing, or whatever you think," Kraft said. "It probably needs to be rethought for the modern era that we're in and the different things that are coming up that I don't think people anticipated and how the public wants to see them treated.
He talked about the need to involve all parties in the discussion, which is something that has led to much acrimony by players about the NFLPA. Recently, Major League Baseball and the players union jointly announced a new policy on domestic violence. After decades of labor battles, the last 15 years has seen the two sides form what appears to be the best relationship in professional sports when it comes to labor negotiations.
Adam Schefter tweeted out an article with a mention of Kraft's thoughts, and San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York retweeted it:
A retweet can mean a lot of things, but it would seem like he believes some adjustments could be made to the existing discipline policy.
This past week, Peter King was in the Bay Area observing the 49ers, and they were mentioned a few times in his weekly Monday Morning Quarterback column. Aside from some discussion about Jarryd Hayne and NaVorro Bowman, King mentioned York's retweet. He noted the retweet, quoted some of Kraft's comments, and then had this to say:
York and the younger Kraft are two of the most respected leaders of tomorrow the league has. Interesting that they, like many league followers, seem to want Roger Goodell out of the unending quicksand of problem cases.
I imagine that will get a few tongues wagging. Among NN readers, Jed York has some supporters, but has plenty of detractors. I think the average 49ers fan that does not spend every hour consuming the team on NN, Twitter and elsewhere is not as angry toward York, but that's obviously not the case here.
We don't really know enough about perceptions around the league, as far as among the owners. While plenty of 49ers fans are still pissed about the Harbaugh situation, I would not be surprised if some owners come down on York's side in the situation. Furthermore, York, Gideon Yu and others got Levi's Stadium financed and built in California amidst an ugly economic downturn.
You can give credit to whomever you want, but the point is, the stadium got built, and the 49ers are going to be rolling in cash into the future. NFL owners might want to win Super Bowls, but they also greatly enjoy making money. Any NFL team can make money, but the 49ers have now moved into the upper echelon of revenue teams. It is hard to know exactly who gets credit for what amongst the front office, and even the York family, in general. But all in all, the 49ers are in great shape from a financial perspective. For a lot of fans, that means nothing, but amongst NFL owners, I imagine it carries with it some serious cache.
Of course, I also do take Peter King with a grain of salt when he is doling out kudos to coaches, owners and NFL officials. After all, this is a guy who seems to remain convinced Jeff Fisher is finally going to turn things around in St. Louis. And before he was burned on the Ray Rice stuff, he was there for the league as well. If you give him access, you might find yourself getting some fairly favorable coverage.