Roger Goodell has taken a lot of heat from both former and current players since taking over as NFL Commissioner for Paul Tagliabue in 2006.
These feelings on Goodell can appear a bit one-sided, but not everyone is against him. Former NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson has been supportive of Goodell from the start, and that support hasn’t wavered even after Johnson has retired from the league.
I think I’m the only one that loves him. When he took over after [Paul] Tagliabue, I was sure to be one of the first ones to get in contact with him. It was important that he understood that, as of now, we would have a good relationship. Because he was going to have to deal with me a lot, which is the case over the years… He was put in a tough position, though. When he came in, everybody kept getting in trouble and he had to sort of come down with the hammer right away and, I don’t wanna say be macho, but like, be stern. He had to. We left him no choice as players because everyone kept getting in trouble. There was a time, you remember when he first came in? Everybody kept getting arrested. It was crazy.”
Johnson told Bensinger that he even refers to Goodell as "dad" and has him listed in his phone contacts accordingly. However, Johnson might not be among a large group of players who have Goodell listed as a contact.
Back in 2013, NFLPA president Domonique Foxworth said that NFL players don’t trust Goodell, citing how he handled the New Orleans Saints’ bounty case as one key reason why. That overarching feeling hasn’t changed much since. Seattle Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman has called out Goodell on multiple occasions, most recently during media week before Super Bowl XLIX.
Goodell has not done much to publicly address his relationship with the current group of NFL players.