Goodell calls Raiders' dispute between Davis, Kiffin 'unfortunate'

Updated: October 5, 2008, 2:21 PM ET
Associated Press

HOUSTON -- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has not received a grievance from former Raiders coach Lane Kiffin in the wake of his bitter split with team owner Al Davis last week.

Davis said Tuesday that Kiffin was fired for cause, meaning the Raiders will not pay him for the remainder of the three-year deal worth about $6 million. Kiffin's agent, Gary Uberstine, said Kiffin will talk to the commissioner.

"No one ever likes to see a dispute like that happen," Goodell said. "Mr. Davis made it very clear he didn't like it. It was clear that coach Kiffin was uncomfortable under the current circumstances.

"It's something that's unfortunate. You don't want to see it happen."

Goodell expects a grievance to be filed, but added he would not intervene in the situation until he is asked to.

"It's a reality of our business," Goodell said. "They've moved on now. If I'm involved in some fashion, or asked to be involved or required to be involved, I will certainly fulfill my responsibility. But I don't think [there's] anything else to say other than it's an unfortunate situation."

Goodell visited Houston to support Texans owner Bob McNair's charitable campaign to raise money for victims of Hurricane Ike. McNair donated $500,000 and the league matched it with a contribution to its own disaster relief fund.

Goodell touched on several topics during a brief news conference before the Texans played Indianapolis at Reliant Stadium, the first game in the venue since Ike made landfall on Sept. 13:

• Goodell said it was "highly unlikely" the number of preseason games would be reduced for next season. He said a change would require the league to renegotiate contracts with its broadcasting partners and the players association.

"To get that done all in time to also make a schedule, which would have to be done in the January period, I don't think it's practical," he said.

• Goodell said the national financial crisis will impact the league.

"We've been talking about what I consider the economic downturn for well over a year, and making sure we're prepared for it," he said. "It affects not only the NFL, our clubs and our owners. More importantly, it affects our consumers, our fans. We're very sensitive to it."

In May, owners voted to end their labor agreement with the union in 2011. Goodell said the crisis will affect negotiations for a new one.

"Any time you're dealing in the kind of economic environment we have, you're increasing the risk of running a business," Goodell said. "The owners are taking on significant risk running these businesses."


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

ALSO SEE