Even after a stinging rebuke from Federal District Court Judge Susan Nelson on Monday, who granted an injunction to lift the NFL's six-week-old lockout, commissioner Roger Goodell still believes the only path to long-term success of the NFL is through negotiations with the players' side.
At the NFL's Play 60 Youth Football Festival today near Chelsea Piers, Goodell told reporters he wants to resolve the outstanding legal issues and get back to the business of playing football.
“We are in a period of uncertainty and that is something you want to remove,” he said. "It’s one of the things I don’t think is healthy for the players, the clubs and most importantly our fans. So the sooner we can get rid of that uncertainty the better.
"We’ve said from the beginning that you have to be prepared for every contingency,” he said. "Our hope is to still get back to the negotiating table. That’s where it should be resolved. Litigation is not going to resolve this matter. And the sooner we can get back to the table and start discussing the issues, we can get an agreement. That’s where it’s going to come from – the two parties. And the judge made that clear.”
Goodell said he couldn't say whether the NFL would start the league year if Nelson denied the league's motion to stay the injunction and thus allow the lockout to continue.
"I think we have to wait until we hear what the judge’s ruling is first and then try to understand what her instructions are and then we’ll deal with it from there," he said. "We've said from the beginning that you have to be prepared for every contingency."
Asked if he was worried about the image of the NFL in a state of confusion because of the varying responses by teams yesterday to whether players should or shouldn't be allowed into their practice facilities, Goodell said he was not.
"I’m not because [our clubs understand what it is]," he said. "It’s one of the things I don’t think is healthy for the players, the clubs and most importantly our fans. So the sooner we can get rid of that uncertainty the better."