NFL Security is the force responsible for “protecting the shield” and the measures they take to do that are almost unimaginable.
In an appearance on SportsCenter the morning of September 11, former Colts executive Bill Polian said something he wasn’t supposed to. When asked if he thought it was possible that Roger Goodell and the NFL’s front office hadn’t seen the tape of Ray Rice punching his wife in an Atlantic City elevator, Polian told anchor Chris McKendry, “For all the years that I was in the NFL, NFL Security and the NFL’s ability to protect its integrity—the so-called ‘protection of the shield’—was unmatched in American business. I mean, you did not step out of line in the NFL… The office was there to make sure that the clubs, the players, the reputation of the NFL remained unsullied.”
The segment was cut short for unknown reasons, according to Deadspin. Polian appeared on SportsCenter again 20 minutes later and was asked the same question by McKendry. His new response was perfectly milquetoast: “Things can slip through the cracks… The CEO, who is in effect Roger Goodell, doesn’t get all the information he needs all the time.” Polian made no mention of NFL Security the second time around.
Not half an hour following Polian’s mention of NFL Security, he completely changed his tune. This leads to an obvious question: What is NFL Security?
NFL Security covers a wide terrain; ranging from stadium game-day security to running background checks on NFL players to keeping trespassers away from team practices. It is the group responsible for preventing gamblers, game fixers, drug pushers, con artists and others from manipulating NFL players to devious ends. They inform players how to stay on the good side of the law and avoid negative press. To help perform these duties, the NFL employs a vast network to spy on NFL assets and others near the teams, a force that serves as Roger Goodell’s brand police.
This investigative force, comprised of former police officers all the way up to ex-FBI and CIA agents, is the piece of NFL Security most relevant to the Ray Rise case. As theWashington Post reported in September, the unit is “set up just like the FBI” with “field offices” in all NFL cities.
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