After an unflattering anecdote about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was zapped in midstream Monday night, ESPN was mocked for trying to protect Goodell.
The “ManningCast” with brothers Peyton and Eli Manning was in full swing on ESPN2 during the “Monday Night Football” game between the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills, with former late-night host David Letterman popping in to poke fun at Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) December 7, 2021
Letterman, an Indianapolis Colts fan, then spoke about his appearance at the unveiling of the statue of Peyton Manning outside Lucas Oil Stadium. He was among the speakers at the October 2017 event.
The former host of the CBS “Late Show” was on a roll as he wound up, Brobible noted.
“I also sat next to Roger Goodell and Roger Goodell says to me, what are you going to do when you get up there?” Letterman recounted. “And I say, ‘I’m going to talk about Peyton and the city and what he’s done for the town and his career and try to make some jokes …
“And I said to Roger Goodell, I said, ‘What are you gonna do?’ And he said, ‘I’m going to get booed,’ and it was wonderful, he really –”
No one will ever know what Letterman was going to say because ESPN picked that moment to cut to a commercial.
ESPN awkwardly cuts to commercial during David Letterman’s Roger Goodell story pic.twitter.com/qiJ07HP3bD
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) December 7, 2021
“Given this is a broadcast that’s refused to hit the dump button on people cursing and Eli throwing up the double birds on camera, it’s funny to think the line gets drawn at possibly making fun of Roger Goodell,” Robby Calland wrote on Uproxx.
Many on Twitter also doubted that this was merely a technical issue or coincidental timing.
They just cut Letterman off when he mentioned Goodell getting booed! ???
— RustyDal (@RusDal112) December 7, 2021
Letterman talking Goodell gets cut out to a USAA Gronk commercial…. This is no coincidence.
— Fargo (@FargoPark) December 7, 2021
Lol they just cut off letterman because he was bashing Goodell ?
— Johnny Five (@JohnMurachanian) December 7, 2021
Wow they really broke the glass and cut the power real quick soon as Letterman started telling his Goodell story lol
— Vip (@TeamVip33) December 7, 2021
Did they just cut Letterman in the middle of his Goodell getting booed story?
— Toward Morning (@younglefhander) December 7, 2021
Goodell was in fact booed mercilessly upon the occasion, according to CBS News.
That event came even before the commissioner in the wake of protests over the death of George Floyd last year, aligned the league with the Black Lives Matter movement.
“We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people. We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest,” he said in a June video, according to the Chicago Tribune. “We, the National Football League, believe Black Lives Matter.
“I personally protest with you and want to be part of the much-needed change in this country.
“Without black players, there would be no National Football League. And the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of black players, coaches, fans and staff.
“We are listening. I am listening, and I will be reaching out to players who have raised their voices and others on how we can improve and go forward for a better and more united NFL family.”
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