OTR Interviews

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Goes 'On the Record'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," October 26, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: The excitement on the football field can often turn violent, but NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says he has made football a safer game, tackling issues from concussions to HGH testing. And now he's leading an NFL drive to help save lives. We spoke with Commissioner Goodell earlier tonight.


VAN SUSTEREN: Commissioner, nice to see you, sir.

ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: Great to see you, also.

VAN SUSTEREN: You have on your lapel, tell me what that is.

GOODELL: This is the breast cancer awareness pin, the "Crucial Catch." It's our effort to bring exposure to the number of people affected by breast cancer and the fact that we all feel we should promote the idea of early detection for breast cancer. It will save lives and we want to make a difference.

VAN SUSTEREN: And the teams are in on it. They are all doing some acknowledgment in the month of October.

GOODELL: They are, everyone. The players, the coaches, owners, they all are involved wearing pink as part of their uniform.

VAN SUSTEREN: Which is sort after funny color I think for football players. I think most people may not think it that pink is NFL-ish.

GOODELL: Well, it's probably not, but that's what contributes to the impact. People don't expect to see that when they turn on the television s they realize the impact it has and they know these players are impact by breast cancer also, their wives, their sisters, their mothers. We are all affected by it and that's what I we believe we can make a difference.

VAN SUSTEREN: And people can buy things online at the NFL store to contribute and help the cause.

GOODELL: We do. We have an NFL auction site which the money will go back in to stepping the breast cancer initiative.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, the NFL safety issues, lots going on. What are you doing to make it safer?

GOODELL: Well, the game is safer and it's also more popular than of and that's a good thing. We are approaching it by making sure our rules promote safety and we are enforcing those rules, make sure they are safer. There are techniques in our game that clearly lead to injuries and we want to take those out of the game, and I think we've been effective in doing that.

Second, we also try to improve our equipment at every opportunity, including the helmets. And we also are contributing in research to make sure we can identify areas we can do better on the medical side.

VAN SUSTEREN: I never quite understood, though. If I'm an NFL player and I'm going as fast as I possibly can and I have a lot of momentum behind me and the whistle is blown and to stop I bang my helmet against somebody else but I have all that momentum, I'm still going to have a penalty, right?

GOODELL: Well, again if you are using the wrong technique. That's why I think so much of this is based on coaching and technique that's used. If you are using the right technique, the game is safer and you have less probability of injury either to yourself or to the people you are striking.

VAN SUSTEREN: If it's an accidental with momentum, is that -- you know, I accidentally bang it just because of momentum or isn't there such a thing?

GOODELL: Well, it's up for us to determine what is accidental. At the end of the day we want to try to take the contact out of the game and reduce the risk of injury. So we don't make determinations on what's accidental.

VAN SUSTEREN: A Steelers player just got into a little bit after problem. He had what seemed like a serious injury on the field. They suspected he might have a concussion, a lot of concern. He made a phone call to his wife and got find $10,000. A lot of people felt bad for him on that.

GOODELL: Well, I think, you know, it's always a problem with trying to have a rule that applies to everybody. You know, Troy is a wonderful young man and there was concern about his health, and there are ways of us getting word to family when there is an injury and to make sure that they understand the player is OK. But we also don't want to have all our players using phones on the sidelines or texting.

VAN SUSTEREN: I actually -- I sort of thought that it was the team's fault. Here you have a guy who obviously his wife is watching, she's going to be worried. He got the phone from the team doctor apparently. You would think they would have an intern or somebody who could run back into the locker room and make a phone call and say he's all right.

GOODELL: I think they do. I think when someone is injured in your family, you want to speak to the individual and you want to hear their voice and you want to make sure they are OK. And that's something that probably could have happened by taking him off the field and allowing him access to be able to call his wife.

VAN SUSTEREN: HGH, I know there was a series of letters going back and forth from Capitol Hill, they are wondering why the testing hasn't been done? What's the status on the HGH testing?

GOODELL: We agreed to the testing in the collective bargaining agreement. We have given the union a full proposal on how it will be implemented and unfortunately haven't agreed to what we agreed to back in July.

VAN SUSTEREN: What's the holdup? It's the same thing Major League Baseball has agreed to, right?

GOODELL: It's the same thing major league baseball does with their minor league system. They have not agreed to it in the major leagues. But it's the same thing being done in the Olympic sports since 2004. It's the same test. And frankly we believe the science is there. Scientists on a global basis have told us the test is valid. And we want a valid test also. We want the best possible drug problem, and you have to have a valid test to do that.

VAN SUSTEREN: So it's the union putting the brakes on right now?

GOODELL: Yes. The players have not agreed at this point in time.

VAN SUSTEREN: But you get the letter from Congress.


GOODELL: We are all getting the letter, and we were called in recently by Chairman Issa and the ranking member, [Elijah] Cummings, and those are - - we understand the importance. This is a public policy issue. We recognize that we have to make the statement that HGH is not going to be in the NFL, it affects everybody else that watches us, it affects everybody else that plays us. And it's our responsibility to do it right.

And that's why I feel strongly that not only is it good public policy, it's right for player safety because players don't know what they are injecting themselves with and they don't know what the long-term effects of that are. So we need to remove it from the game.

VAN SUSTEREN: For the Packers, I have to ask, because you know I'm an owner. The odds that my ownerships is going to be diluted with more sales of shares, and I'm anxious. Are we going to see more shares sold?

GOODELL: I think so. As you well know, as a season ticket holder and owner, they are trying expand the stadium. They'll add probably six or seven thousand more seats for fans and there's a great demand for that. And as a part of that we will likely approve another issuing of stock, so you will have a chance to buy some more.

VAN SUSTEREN: I'll tell you what thing that there could be a fight about if there is of a suggestion to put any sort of dome in Green Bay. I would be surprised that that of went over with the fans because we take great pride in suffering through that snow and cold.

GOODELL: Well, I will tell you that you are not going to hear that suggestion from me. I also love to see football played in the elements. That's what the game is all about, and you know that. I think the experience of going up there to Lambeau in the elements is a great thing for football.