Whenever a powerful public figure is outed as a weasel, it should come as no surprise when the people around him engage in other weaselly behavior on his behalf.
Roger Goodell has been beleaguered by a variety of scandals over the years during his tenure as commissioner of the National Football League, most recently his support for privileged pinhead players protesting the National Anthem from the game field to slander America’s police as a racist kill squad.
Of course, amid his many detractors he’s also had plenty of defenders. However, the Wall Street Journal reports, one of them wasn’t exactly the independent observer “his” online handle presented “himself” to be.
It turns out that “Jones smith,” the highly-active Goodell defender who has spoken out through the Twitter profile @forargument, is actually Jane Skinner Goodell, Roger’s wife:
“It was a REALLY silly thing to do and done out of frustration—and love.” Mrs. Goodell said Thursday afternoon in a written statement. “As a former media member, I’m always bothered when the coverage doesn’t provide a complete and accurate picture of a story. I’m also a wife and a mom. I have always passionately defended the hard-working guy I love—and I always will. I just may not use Twitter to do so in the future!”
Within an hour after the Journal reached out to Mrs. Goodell and the NFL, the account was made private. Later, it was taken down completely.
“Sounds like what she did is what every spouse in America would want to do,” said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy […]
Amid this firestorm, Mrs. Goodell has covertly worked to change the narrative. All of the 14 tweets from Mrs. Goodell since August are defenses of Mr. Goodell in reply to various publications, including the Journal and prominent sports commentators.
Throughout the guerrilla social-media campaign, however, nobody has been paying attention. None of those tweets have elicited replies, likes or retweets.
But @forargument is nothing if not consistent in its support for the commissioner.
How did the Wall Street Journal’s sleuths figure it out? It turns out Mrs. Goodell was simply careless in keeping her digital alter ego separate from her true identity. She doesn’t have a verified Twitter account of her own, so she used her @forargument account to follow “four accounts connected to the high school attended by the Goodells’ twin daughters” (the total number of accounts she followed was a modest 46). Oops.
Going online to defend one’s husband may well be “what every spouse in America would want to do,” as McCarthy said … but would every spouse in America want to hide the fact that she was a wife standing by her man? Would every spouse in America want to deceive people into thinking her defenses were coming from an ordinary sports fan with no ulterior motives? Doubtful.
Mrs. Goodell’s actions may well be understandable, but “understandable” is not a synonym for “excusable” or “ethical.” This is not a case of an ordinary citizen protecting his or her privacy; Jane Skinner Goodell is a figure with not only a vested interest in the outcome of the debate, but plenty of legitimate ways to make her voice heard if she really wanted to.
Are you surprised by this development? Sound off below!
Hat tip: Washington Examiner