When Colts season-ticket holder Nate Dunlevy tuned in to Wednesday's conference call with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, he heard talk about next season's Super Bowl in Indianapolis, the possibility of an 18-game schedule and increased attention to player concussions. But Dunlevy was disappointed that he didn't hear more questions about the NFL lockout and later said so on his Twitter account.
Dunlevy soon received the opportunity to ask Goodell those questions himself when the commissioner called him.
Dunlevy shared his recollection of his Monday morning conversation with the commissioner on his blog, "18 to 88."
"He insisted I call him Roger and graciously asked me what questions I had for him," Dunlevy wrote.
Dunlevy first asked Goodell if he regretted the television deals that sparked a lawsuit and "destabilized trust between the NFL and the players." U.S. District Judge David Doty ruled in March that the league failed to maximize revenue for both sides in the TV deals and scheduled a May 12 hearing to address the players' request for damages.
"Mr. Goodell responded by taking me back to the economic climate of 2008 and insisted that the contract was in the best interest of all the NFL's business partners," Dunlevy wrote. "... He did believe the NFL had behaved in an appropriate manner and for the good of all their business partners including the players."
Dunlevy said he later asked about the reported abrasive behavior of various owners during negotiations with players, and Goodell responded that some statements were taken out of context and "he did not need to rely on media reports about what was said and how it was received because he was physically present."
Goodell also insisted that a formal offer was made to the players "long ago" and reiterated that the league has acted appropriately in an effort to get a deal done.
Finally, Dunlevy said he asked Goodell if he had any regrets about the league's conduct through the course of the negotiations.
"He said that one always runs back over such negotiations, searching for what could have been done differently, but that he did not believe there was anything that could have been changed," Dunlevy wrote. "He then expressed frustration at the fact that the discussions were taking place in a courtroom rather than in mediated settlement talks."
Dunlevy summed up the 10-minute conversation: "I found Mr. Goodell to be patient, straightforward and direct. He directly challenged some of my assertions with fact claims that I simply could not verify in the moment. He presented himself in a calm, caring, and concerned way. While I need time to research some of the fact claims that he made, I appreciate the fact that he made fact claims and was in no way evasive."
NFL vice president of communications Brian McCarthy said Goodell has conference calls scheduled with season-ticket holders from 11 more teams over the next few weeks, adding to the 10 in which he already has participated.
"It's a good opportunity for the Commissioner to talk directly with fans, but just as important, listen to their concerns and questions," McCarthy said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.