NFL: Reactive or Proactive

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The NFL has experienced plenty of scrutiny in its recent policies pertaining to player misconduct. Commissioner Roger Goodell has been accused of being inconsistent with penalties and the media is quick to criticize him.  Public opinion of the commissioner has taken a fall as well.  Since the Ray Rice incident is 2014, everything the league does is closely examined, and it seems as though they can’t correct their wrongdoings.  The league has started campaigns against domestic violence, forced players to undergo training, handed out harsher penalties and done just about everything they can to appear as though they are serious about these issues.  However, as a spectator and fan of the game you have to wonder if the league is simply hiding under a guise of fancy commercials, or are they producing results for victims of this issue.

This week is breast cancer awareness month, and players participate by wearing pink during games.  For the most part, anything is fair game.  Players can wear anything pink, but there is still a uniform code that players must follow.  This past week two players were fined over $5,000 for violations.  William Gay was fined for wearing purple cleats to honor his mother who was killed in a domestic violence incident, as well as DeAngelo Williams for wearing eye black that read “we will find a cure” to honor his mother who died of breast cancer.  As a future PR professional I find it difficult to justify these punishments coming from an organization in the midst of trying to refine its image.  Are these punishments serving a purpose? Is the money being used to provide shelters for victims of domestic violence? How is this strengthening the organization’s relationship with the public it serves?

I understand rules are enforced for a reason, and I’m a proponent of following them.  If these players violated rules set by the league, they should be punished accordingly.  When I analyze this case from a PR standpoint, I feel certain strategies could have helped the league’s image.  The NFL released a statement explaining how all 32 teams are working in collaboration to raise awareness for breast cancer.  Instead of another cliché statement, maybe a representative could write a release telling me how the fines were used to help victims.  Perhaps this money was used to build a shelter for victims of domestic violence and the impact this will have on the community is immense.  I suppose when your organization is making close to $9 billion dollars in annual revenue and expected to be worth $25 billion by 2027, effort isn’t a concern.


“Chris Pratt Brings Joy to Children’s Hospital – See the Sweet Photos.” Web. 30 Oct. 2015.

Cohn, Jonathan. “The NFL Owes Domestic Violence Victims a Big, Fat Check.” Web. 30 Oct. 2015.

“The NFL Fined Two Players Who Violated the League’s Uniform Policy to Honor Their Late Mothers.” For The Win. 28 Oct. 2015. Web. 30 Oct. 2015.

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