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Rob Ninkovich defends Matt Patricia for wearing Roger Goodell clown nose shirt

Alex Reimer
July 20, 2017 - 8:10 pm

Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich doesn't know why Roger Goodell is so upset. Earlier this week, it was reported that the NFL commissioner is still "miffed" at Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia for wearing a shirt that features Goodell with a clown nose. Patricia was photographed wearing the t-shirt when the Patriots returned from Super Bowl LI. 

In an interview Thursday with Boston Herald Radio, Ninkovich said he doesn't think Patricia's intent was malicious. “Everyone has the right to wear whatever shirt they want,” Ninkovich explained. "Everyone has to wear a shirt, right? You can’t just wear no shirt. I think someone threw it at (Patricia), and he said, ‘All right, nice shirt, it’s cool, it’s blue, so I’ll put it on.’ I thought it was a funny shirt.”

According to Pro Football Talk, Goodell's ire might be causing teams to shy away from hiring Patricia for a head coaching job. The commissioner is slated to be at Gillette Stadium for the Patriots' season opener Sept. 7 for the first time since the Deflategate saga unfolded. 

“I don’t think it’s a big deal,” Ninkovich said. “People want to take it how they want to take it. If you really think about it, everyone has to wear clothes, so you just put a shirt on, and you know, it is what it is. I think it’s a nice shirt. It’s blue. I love blue. My favorite color is blue.”

Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy, who created the Goodell clown nose shirt, pulled no punches when asked about the controversy Thursday on "Kirk & Callahan."

“(Goodell) is a thin skinned little prick,” Portnoy said. "I mean the guy is making, what, $30-40 million dollars a year. He was wrong on this one. By the way, who knows, as much as I hate Goodell, I chose to believe it because it helps us move merch. Every time I wake up it’s like a gift from God. This story and the t-shirt is back in the news again. There is no context to it. It’s just like he supposedly is mad again. I believe anything with him.”