Why has Troy Vincent, not Roger Goodell, become the NFL’s voice on the Damar Hamlin injury? | You Pod to Win the Game

Yahoo Sports Charles Robinson, Jori Epstein and Charles McDonald discuss the NFL’s handling of the injury to Buffalo Bill’s safety Damar Hamlin. Why is it we are hearing from Troy Vincent, the NFL’s Executive Vice President, rather than Commissioner Roger Goodell. Hear the full conversation on the You Pod to Win the Game podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.

Video transcript

CHARLES ROBINSON: Roger Goodell has not been a strong voice or has not been really present out there. And there are a number of people now who are like, hey, it feels like Roger's hiding, why isn't he talking anymore. And it seems like a lot of this has been put on Troy's plate. We discussed this a little bit before the podcast started.

I think I am in a contrarian stance to this than everyone else. I think that Troy has done a great job. I feel like this is in his job. It's crazy that an event as frightening as this is really what he's responsible for. But it truly is what Troy is responsible for.

And what I have seen is the league turning to Troy who has been earning his Spurs for a number of years who's arguably-- if not the most prominent Black executive in the NFL, he is very close-- stepping out onto a stage, taking difficult questions, showing people, I am a leader here, this is my opportunity to lead, I am leading. And I think this is important because I look at Troy, and this is someone who, when Roger Goodell steps aside, he's going to be in the mix for potentially a commissioner job here. And I would think it would be wrong to take a moment like this away from Troy.

For whatever reason it happened, I am glad that Troy is being given the opportunity to lead here. I think he's doing a really good job, the best job he can do given everything that's going on. And no matter what, I don't think this was ever going to be-- I hate to use this phrase, but it's true. This was never going to be a clean event for the league.

This happening in the league was never going to be anything but what it has been. And frankly, if you had asked me a month ago if X happens, what will happen, I would have said it is going to be a complete and utter disaster for the league and it could potentially change the league in a multitude of ways based on how poorly they handle it. Instead, I think it has actually been a moment where they have done better than I expected they would be able to do.

CHARLES MCDONALD: Yeah. To me, I kind of think that, in this instance, I think Troy is doing a good job. But also, I want to hear from a former player, I guess, in these scenarios.

Someone who has been out there and seen people got hurt and had to deal with that. I don't know. I think maybe him being a former player who was obviously very, very good for a very long time in the NFL-- it adds a little bit more credence to his words, even though he is representing the league interest now.

And to me, I don't really get fired up on whether it's Roger Goodell or someone else because someone's going to have to do it. Someone has to be out there and talk. So if this falls within Troy's job responsibilities, then that's fine. I think he's done as good a job as he possibly can in terms of straddling the line between dealing with the emotional outpour to this while also trying to remain true to his job and his paycheck.

I think he's done a really good job in terms of that. It's just an impossible situation that anyone's been put in. But I'm more inclined to agree with you, C Rob. I don't think Roger Goodell's hiding per se. I'm not sure Roger Goodell is even the person I want to hear from on this.


CHARLES MCDONALD: I think whatever Troy has done so far with whether it's been kind of being the face of the league for this, the press conferences-- I think it's not an easy situation, it's not something that's ever going to turn out well. I mean, we're talking about death here. There's no way to handle this.

And again, I think even part of the cry for Roger Goodell to come out and say something is just the need to expound some of that energy you're feeling inside somewhere else, just to release it because it feels so bad to have these feelings just trapped inside of you. That's why I've been talking to people over the past couple of days. But yeah, Troy-- I think he's done as good a job as he possibly could in this situation.

JORI EPSTEIN: Yeah, I don't think that they kind of picked or empowered Troy to be in this position for this. I think you make a good point, C Rob, that likely, he's been doing a lot of work on a lot of different things behind the scenes. And this is the one where he's a little less behind the scenes.

But if someone did say, hey, this is a pretty sensitive situation, Roger Goodell is kind of a lightning rod and hasn't made the most of friends in terms of public perception, maybe he's not the best face of this. If someone did make that call, I actually think there's a lot to be said for that. I don't know that call was made.

But I think that it's kind of refreshing, again, like C Mac said, to have a player's voice, to have someone who does show emotion perhaps in a different way that Roger is inclined to and just recognize how challenging and difficult and strenuous this is for the league office. The likelihood is all hands on deck in the league office. And who is showing their face at what different points I think is far less a concern than making sure the work gets done and everyone who needs to be supported is supported.