Sen. Gillibrand: If Goodell Lied, 'He Has to Step Down'

(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images)

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, has tentatively added her voice to the rising chorus calling for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's resignation in the wake of the Ray Rice incident.

"If he lied, then he has to step down," Gillibrand said on the latest episode of the ESPN-ABC News podcast "Capital Games."

"What I've said up till now is, I expect Roger to create a zero tolerance policy and change the NFL, but … you can't lie to the American people about the facts," she said.

You can listen to the full "Capital Games" podcast HERE .

According to the senator, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, whose name has been bandied about as a possible Goodell replacement, "would make a great NFL commissioner, just based on her talent, her intelligence, her love of the sport."

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Appointing Rice commissioner would ignite the NFL's female fan base and give the league a fresh perspective on issues with which it has long struggled. Choosing Rice would be not only a symbolic gesture, but a functional one as well.

"You know, we always fight for breaking every glass ceiling … But it's more than just a message. Women often bring to leadership a different style of leadership, one that often is more focused on consensus building, often more focused on transparency and accountability," Gillibrand said.

"I think what Condi or any other strong, capable woman could bring to the NFL is probably a voice they haven't been hearing, and one that would do great, great benefit to the organization," she added.

ESPN analyst and former NFL executive Andrew Brandt echoed Gillibrand's contention that Rice should not be merely a token candidate.

"Would she be on the list if there wasn't a Ray Rice issue, if he was retiring as commissioner would she be on the list? For her I would say yes," Brandt said, adding that Rice has "impeccable credentials, impeccable integrity."

"Sports are still considered a male-dominated thing," acknowledges Julie Foudy, a former Olympian and World Cup champion. "I still think, with all the strides we've made with Title IX and the number of girls that are playing, the hardest area to break into is the professional game …. It's a constant challenge."

As for drawing the line on domestic violence: "I don't buy the argument that you should do it because your fan base is women," Foudy says. "Do it because it's the right damn thing to do!"

The relationship between sports and politics is a reciprocal one, Gillibrand says.

"If you play sports, particularly competitive sports, you learn … your job is to hit your best shot, and your opponent's going to hit his or her best shot against you as well. And it doesn't mean anything, it just means you have to stay tough, stay focused, and know why you're in the game," she said on Capital Games. "There's an indicator, when they look at these things, that says if a woman's played competitive sports, she might be more likely to run."

Whether or not they play competitive sports, "I want women and girls to believe in themselves just as much as men and boys do. I want them to trust their own power … not just for their own sense of self, but for all of us," Gillibrand says in her new book, "Off the Sidelines." "Girls' voices matter. Women's voices matter. From Congress to board meetings to PTAs, our country needs more women to share their thoughts, and take a place at the decision-making table."

"Capital Games with Andy Katz and Rick Klein," part of the ESPN Perspectives audio series, explores the intersection of sports and politics, with ESPN's Andy Katz and ABC News' Rick Klein. It can be downloaded HERE or on iTunes, by searching for ESPN Perspectives