The Department of Justice’s appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead the investigation into the Trump campaign’s potential links with the Russian government is being met with skepticism in the sports world.
After conducting an investigation into the NFL’s handling of the Ray Rice case, Mueller, a former director of the FBI, exonerated commissioner Roger Goodell in January 2015. The investigation determined that no one at the league had received video of Rice punching his wife in a casino elevator before the video was published by TMZ.
The report, however, also found the NFL did not aggressively pursue new information about the Rice case.
Still, largely because it was commissioned by the NFL and because Mueller was handpicked to lead it, the investigation was rebuked for letting Goodell off the hook.
Now, for at least a few sports business executives and observers, Mueller’s appointment doesn't pass the smell test. Dave Zirin, sports editor at The Nation, called Mueller an "institutionalist." George Atallah, assistant executive director of the NFLPA, fears the consequences of the Rice case pale in comparison to those of Mueller's next assignment.
Mueller saved Rog Goodell's behind w/his independent investigation of whether Goodell tried to cover up Ray Rice video. An institutionalist. https://t.co/KKkJTjA2Mf— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) May 17, 2017
Between Bob Mueller appointment & transcripts published it's 2015 all over again except the stakes are...um...inflated. [ducks for cover]— George Atallah (@GeorgeAtallah) May 17, 2017
It’s obviously far too soon to evaluate the selection of Mueller to investigate the alleged Trump/Russia ties, but for some familiar with his work, he’s got a lot to prove.