The Upcoming Question
How do you change public perception? That is a question NFL owners and commissioner Roger Goodell are going to be asking themselves in the weeks and months to come. This has been an absolute nightmare stretch for the NFL, we all know that by now, but what has to happen next to restore faith in the NFL shield?
Right now, the NFL is still in damage control mode (we know this because Goodell is still in hiding), but when the dust finally starts to settle, the NFL will have to strategize ways to demonstrate a pro-active stance on issues of domestic violence. The league would benefit from revamping its entire protocol when its players are arrested for any crime. After botching the Ray Rice situation, the NFL was scrutinized for its handling of Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy and Ray Mcdonald situations. Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems like we fans all knew these men should have been sat down long before the league did.
Just tonight Crest announced it was pulling out of a promotion with the NFL. This comes on the tails of of other sponsors like Anheuser-Busch, Marriott, Fedex, Nike, Pepsi and more issuing strong statements about the NFL's handling of its off-field issues.
Good for these sponsors. I have seen and heard people questioning the motivation of big corporations speaking out on these issues, saying its just an easy PR opportunity. Sure it is! So? Its easy and we should be thankful these corporations are coming out to hold the league accountable. Only one language is spoken in the NFL and that is money. Like it or not these sponsors have the biggest wallets and therefore biggest voices. This is the perfect time for them to use those voices to express concern over the amount of violent crimes among players and the mishandling of events by the league. So I say good for these sponsors and I hope it leads us to an era of NFL football we can all be proud of.
One Last Thing
As a Dolphin fan I can't help but think back to the way the organization, led by Stephen Ross, handled the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin situation. Not that the situations are all that similar but, Incognito was suspended indefinitely almost immediately after news of his indiscretions hit the news cycle. More importantly, it stayed that way no mater how the public opinion on the matter shifted. The Dolphins commissioned a report, assembled a committee and tried to do all they could to get in front of the problem and rectify the situation before the season even ended. Stephen Ross, although often ridiculed, took every measure to help find all of the facts.
I know these cases are of different gravities and are completely different in terms of timing and player caliber, but when I think about how seriously the Miami Dolphins took allegations of bullying another teammate, I can't help but feel underwhelmed at how the Ravens and the greater NFL handled the Ray Rice saga. Rice was suspended just two games by the NFL and then received a heroes welcome by the Ravens during the pre-season. The Ravens knew what he did. It took a video of him hitting his now wife going public and for public backlash to mount before his status with the team was terminated.
And lets not forget how the Vikings were willing to play Adrian Peterson until backlash from NIKE and the fans forced them to hold the now infamous "get this right " press conference. All I am saying is at the time it was easy to mock how the Dolphins handled their scandal last year. Three weeks into the season this year and its apparent that other NFL teams can learn from their quick reaction and strong discipline of Incognito.
I am Sal Biase. Share your thoughts here or attack me on twitter. Phins Up!