Roger Goodell says the NFL does not have a timetable for the team to select its representing owner among Pat Bowlen’s seven children.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the Broncos are in compliance with ownership policies and the league does not have a timetable for the team to select its representing owner among Pat Bowlen’s seven children.
“They’re actually being very well-run. Our membership is very happy with that, and it’s consistent with the way Pat wanted it done. Pat outlined that exactly the way it’s operating. From our standpoint, no,” Goodell said of a timetable. “But we want to make sure that the team is always in compliance.”
Bowlen, who purchased majority stake in the team in 1984, is still the owner, but the team has been placed in a trust run by three trustees — team president/CEO Joe Ellis, team counsel Rich Slivka and Denver attorney Mary Kelly.
The trust is essentially a vehicle to transfer controlling ownership of the team to Bowlen’s seven children. The children will receive equal stake in the team but only one will be selected as representing owner. The decision is left to the trustees, who also have the authority to sell the team. Ellis, however, has stated repeatedly that that option is not on the table. The team will stay in the Bowlen family.
“I had the good fortune of working very closely with Pat Bowlen,” Goodell said. “He was incredibly involved in league matters, and I think I spoke to him almost every day. I got a real appreciation for what he contributed, but also gained a really good understanding of what was important to him and the Broncos, and the way they did things was at the top of his list. He planned very carefully for the unfortunate circumstances that we’re in.”
The trust was established by Bowlen in the late 1990s. In 2014, he announced he would step down from his daily duties as owner because of the progression of Alzheimer’s.
NFL looking at marijuana research.
Goodell said marijuana and its potential in treating football-related injuries is “a medical issue” that the league is interested in researching further.
“If pain management is something that medical marijuana can address responsibly, that’s something that our medical community is evaluating,” Goodell said Thursday at a forum at the Broncos’ Dove Valley headquarters. “We just proposed to our union in the last month or so that we put some research money behind that to see how we could implement that … if they can address pain management in an effective and safe fashion.”
The collectively bargained substance-abuse policy bans players from consuming marijuana — they’re penalized if they test positive for more than 35 nanograms of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per milliliter of urine — but many former and current athletes have advocated for the use of cannabinoids as alternative to potent painkillers.
The NFL Players’ Association established a pain management committee to address, among other issues, the use of marijuana as a viable and potentially safer treatment for footballrelated pain. In past interviews, Goodell has said the league will consider changing the substance abuse policy when research supports doing so.
At Thursday’s fan forum at Dove Valley, Goodell was asked about studies on head injuries and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. Most recently, researchers at Boston University examined the brains of 202 deceased football players and found that of the 111 that played in the NFL, 110 had CTE, a degenerative disease that is believed to be linked to repeated blows to the head.
“We appreciate the studies and we actually not only appreciate them, we funded a lot of these studies. What we all need is more information,” Goodell said. “There is one thing that is clear among this medical community, that we have a lot more questions than we have answers. We need more research and I think we have led the way on that front. We’ve not only led with research, but we’ve led with rule changes to our game, we’ve led on awareness to the injuries, we’ve led on how we can develop new equipment that will make our game safer for our players.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, left, shares a laugh with Broncos coach Vance Joseph on Thursday at Dove Valley.