He realized what he was doing.
But as he said, "I think it was the right thing to do. That's a tough way to start it off, and to do it in front of the nation is pretty difficult."
So do not doubt Goodell thinks his treatment of Adam Jones is unnecessarily harsh, a sentiment initially voiced by Jones himself, likely causing the new commissioner to further imbed him into his doghouse. He deeply feels this is the right thing to do, not only to protect the league, but to save the young man from himself.
And don't think for one minute a suddenly publically contrite Pacman is going to open that door. The key to that is how he acts, not totally what he says, though Goodell has taken note of his change in tunes, sounding much more contrite and responsible these days. Sometimes forfeiting $1.29 million in pay can do that.
Pacman might be saying the right thing, but Goodell wants to continue monitoring if he is actually doing the right things, making reinstatement a twofold proposition.
"Accepting responsibility" is what Goodell says he looks for first. "I think any athlete that's made a mistake, the first thing they have to do is accept responsibility for making the mistake and then be committed to making changes in their lives to avoid making the mistake again. One of the things that concerned me about Pacman early on was that Adam continually said it was other factors to cause these problems. It was other issues that were the reason he had the various incidents he had.
"And the reality is, he has to accept responsibility for where he is, who he is with - what happens around him, and he has to recognize as any NFL player, you're going to be in the limelight, you're going to have a lot more focus and that you have to make decisions different than you would if you were an average citizen."
So even though the Cowboys are interested in taking Pacman Jones off the Titans' hands - for the right price, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and vice-president son Stephen Jones continue to say - don't simply assume Pacman will be reinstated to play this season. Jerry Jones says he's assuming nothing.
Stephen Jones said because of that, and Pacman's pattern of behavior, "The key thing is, and Jerry has said it all along, we can't pay too high a price in compensation to the Titans and we certainly can't take a financial risk here in terms of the player of any magnitude that would affect our cap, and finally, I think we have to, regardless if we pull this off with Adam Jones, we have to assume and make draft picks - manage our team as if we didn't have him because that certainly . . . we could wake up here, be in training camp or wake up halfway through the season and have an issue."
Also, don't fool yourself for one minute Goodell would feel much better about releasing Pacman into the Cowboys' custody, meaning if this trade ever goes down - Jerry Jones said it's losing "energy" and Stephen Jones said, "I think Jerry was quoted the other day as saying, boy, as time passes, then you certainly wonder what's ultimately going to happen" - the commissioner might consider reinstating the troubled corner sooner than his previous timetable of prior to training camp.
Not going to happen, meaning trade for at your own risk. Goodell was giving no guarantees, not before the luncheon while walking down the hotel hallway to the ballroom, not during, not leaving the luncheon and certainly not during his 10-minute interview on Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket afterward.
"I'm not influenced by that at all," Goodell said of the possibility of Pacman being traded to the Cowboys. "To me it's the individual's actions and what they are doing . . . .
"But it won't have any impact on my decision on Adam. My decision on Adam is based on him as an individual, him as a player and whether he has done the things he has committed to do."
Goodell also insisted Pacman doesn't need to apply for reinstatement, so was sort of befuddled by all the questions concerning the meaning of Pacman saying he's not immediately applying for reinstatement from his one-year suspension as previously stated would happen on Tuesday. Goodell said there was no formal application to be filed, and that as he has been