The Biggest PR Crisis Right Now: The NFL & Roger Goodell
But with one, after the next, after the next incident being reported, it’s nearly impossible, in my opinion, for the N.F.L. to redeem itself unless drastic measures are taken.
First thing first: Goodell needs to step down.
In this day and age, whether right or wrong, public unrest generally does not dissipate unless heads roll from the top on down. And in the case of Ray & Janay Rice, I believe Goodell’s actions justify his termination.
Allegedly, Goodell had seen the second half of the video tape, in which Ray Rice drags his then-fiancee out of the elevator. In the video, as is widely reported, she looks like a dead body – limp, unmoving, completely knocked unconscious.
Since I represent a defense attorney, I know all about the players’ rights to a due justice process, innocent before proven guilty, yada yada. But – when there are allegations and the corresponding video tape that corroborates horrible, violent, life-threatening domestic violence – action needs to be taken, and not in the form of a paltry two game suspension.
Had the N.F.L. taken a hard line with Ray Rice and terminated his contract, saying that they MEAN it when they have a “zero tolerance” policy on domestic violence, there would have been an initial blow-back from sports reporters and enthusiasts, no doubt. BUT- where there is smoke, there’s fire – and the media relations division of the N.F.L. absolutely should have had the foresight to think: “Hmm … well there’s TMZ. Video already exists. The Revel Hotel is shutting down in a few months and some elevator operator will be unemployed. I bet that unemployeed AC worker would probably jump at the chance to take a pay-out from TMZ in exchange for the video inside the elevator.”
Truly- they should have thought of this. It’s not that challenging when you do this for a living to connect those dots. And maybe they DID think of this- and maybe Goodell did not take their advice. Either way though, the wrong decision was made because had they originally terminated Ray Rice – right now – the N.F.L. would be vindicated (at least in this one particular case).
After Goodell steps down the NFL needs to lay out – in no uncertain terms – that there truly is a zero tolerance policy and what that means, exactly.
Then – they need to make good on their word.
So many kids and young men look up to N.F.L. players both on and off the field. The N.F.L. simply cannot continue to allow their employees to get away with this type of behavior.