SANTA CLARA – Embattled NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will not follow-through on his 2012 promise to attend the regular-season opener at Levi’s Stadium, a source said.
As late as Friday evening the 49ers were expecting Goodell to attend Sunday night’s nationally televised game against the Chicago Bears to open the 49ers’ $1.2 billion stadium.
“I think he’s scheduled to come,” 49ers president Paraag Marathe told NBC Bay Area’s Raj Mathai on Friday night. “He usually comes to most stadium openings, so I expect him to.”
But Goodell’s plans changed this week when he came under intense criticism for his handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence probe. Initially, Goodell meted out what he later admitted was a lenient two-game suspension for Rice, who punched his then-fiancee and future wife.
But, on Monday, when TMZ released a graphic video of the incident in an elevator, the Baltimore Ravens released their star running back and the NFL announced an indefinite suspension.
On Wednesday, the NFL hired former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III to lead an independent investigation into the league's gathering and handling of evidence in the Rice case.
A women’s advocacy organization, Ultraviolet, is scheduled to fly a plane over Levi’s Stadium prior to Sunday’s game that reads “#GoodellMustGo,” Bloomberg.com reported on Friday.
The 49ers have also been under scrutiny for their decision to take no action against defensive end Ray McDonald while San Jose Police continues its investigation after he was arrested two weeks ago for felony domestic violence involving his pregnant girlfriend.
Goodell made a brief appearance at Levi’s Stadium, site of Super Bowl 50, in July for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. During groundbreaking in April 2012, Goodell appeared via videotaped message and said he would attend the opening of the stadium.