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Saturday, June 16, 2007

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Q&A - Charlotte, NC – June 5, 2007

Q&A with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

Charlotte, NC – June 5, 2007

Re: What it means to present the award to Carolina Panthers Owner/Founder
Jerry Richardson?
A great deal. Jerry Richardson is not only an important person to the NFL, but he’s also
an incredibly important person to this region. What he’s done for this region and to be
able to honor him was a great honor for me.

Re: His relationship with Richardson.
It goes back now almost 20 years to when he began his effort to get an expansion
franchise. From the moment I met him, you just have a great admiration and respect for
his integrity, his values and for his can-do attitude. He’s always demonstrated that and
he’s been incredibly important both to me but more importantly to the league in his
tenure as the owner of the Carolina Panthers. I can’t say enough good things about
Jerry Richardson.

Re: What kind of addition to the NFL the Panthers have been?
I stated earlier I believe he’s put together a model franchise here. It’s representative of
his community. It’s representative of his family. He’s done everything he can to make
sure this franchise represents the community in the best possible way. I think he’s
somebody this region should be very proud of.

Re: Conduct being a focus this offseason.
It hasn’t been our focus. Obviously, we’ve had to deal with that and we believe we’re off
to setting some important standards to making sure our players and their coaches and
everyone involved in the NFL understand the importance of it. But it’s an ongoing issue
and it’s going to continue to be an ongoing issue.

Re: The feedback he has gotten from the players on his conduct policy.
We put this policy together with a lot of input from the players. I met with well over 100
players, including the union, and got a great deal of input to try to understand what are
the issues we’re dealing with and what should we do to try to address this issue. I think
the reaction has been quite supportive. Our players are outstanding young men, and
they are doing great things in their community. Obviously, we’ve had a few incidents
we’re not happy about and we’ve dealt with this and we’ve had the support of players in
doing that.

Re: When he will know if the steps he has taken are successful?
I think it’s an ongoing issue you just have to address. You have to recognize we’re
dealing with young people, a large number of people, 2,000 young men, and mistakes,
they’re going to make mistakes. What we need to do is provide as many resources as
we possibly can to help them make good decisions. But it’s going to happen, and when
it happens, they have to understand the consequences of that also.

Re: Richardson stressing the importance of character in his players.
It’s important for Jerry Richardson because this franchise represents this community
and his family, and it represents the National Football League. It’s no mistake he’s got
the NFL shield at the 50-yard line of Bank of America Stadium. It means a great deal to
him. I know he’s supportive of the policy and so are the players, having met with them
this morning.

Re: The rift between retired players and NFL Players Association Executive
Director Gene Upshaw.
The retired players are important to us. They helped us build the game. I don’t think
there’s anybody that I know of that’s done more for retired players or players in general
than Gene Upshaw. I think he’s done a tremendous amount toward that. I think it’s
unfortunate that this kind of thing is going on. I think that’s the reason Gene and I have
talked about forming this alliance to make sure we can address these issues in a
responsible fashion. I don’t think it’s helpful, but I understand it’s an emotional issue

Re: What say to both sides?
I don’t think there are both sides. I think we have a genuine interest, and Gene leans
that way, to try to do what’s responsible for our players. No one has done more for
players than Gene Upshaw.

Re: Upshaw saying he would break Joe DeLamielleure’s neck.
I wasn’t part of those discussions so I don’t have any response to it.

Re: The prospect of a competing professional football league involving Dallas
Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban.
I don’t know many of the details of it so I really couldn’t comment too much on it.

Re: How much bigger the NFL can get?
I think our game is a great game. I think it’s healthy on all levels, and we’re looking for
ways to expand the popularity of our game, not only in the United States but on a global
basis. We think there’s still tremendous growth out of the National Football League
because the game is so strong and our fans are so passionate.

Re: Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick’s status for the 2007 season.
We don’t deal with hypotheticals. We’re waiting to make sure we gather all the facts and
we understand what the circumstances are. Michael and I have met. We’ve talked on
the phone. He understands what is expected of him, and I expect he’s going to make
the changes necessary in his life to make sure he avoids these things going forward.

Re: Role as the NFL commissioner and being comfortable in his new position.
Non-stop. It’s always an issue we have to deal with, but I knew that getting into it. There
weren’t a lot of surprises when you start this job after being in it 25 years. You
understand the role and the responsibility and the accountability we have to our fans.
It’s an awesome responsibility, but I enjoy it. I love the NFL and I want to contribute
whatever I can to that.

Re: Conduct being his stamp and other issues he hopes to advance.
I understand why the media is focused on the player conduct issue. We are not. We
have a number of challenges we are dealing with on a daily basis, mostly on how we
continue to expand the popularity of the game. I think the player conduct issue is
something that’s important to the league, to make sure people respect our players and
the NFL in general. But we’re focused more on how we can continue to promote the
league on a broader basis.

The media world is changing. We have to be responsive to that and make sure we can
find ways to continue to deliver NFL football to future generations of NFL fans. So we’re
continuing to make sure we stay up with those changes and making sure we’re
positioned properly to continue to do that.

Re: Looking forward to the end of his first year as NFL commissioner:
I can’t wait.

Re: His first year as NFL commissioner.
There have been no surprises. When you work for the NFL for 25 years, when you work
for the two greatest sports commissioners, as I did with Pete Rozelle and Paul
Tagliabue, you’re not surprised by much. On the other hand, feeling that awesome
responsibility is really something you feel as much to the fans as to the ownership or
anyone associated with the NFL.

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