Gail Sideman Publicity


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The NFL wanted 24-7 attention and by gosh it’s got it

If you’re the NFL, I imagine you’re saying today to be careful of what you wish for.

It seems that only light months ago that the National Football League commanded media attention for thousands of days on end with mostly good news.

My how times have changed. And that’s just since yesterday. Or 1 o’clock this morning when we learned that Adrian Peterson (and later Greg Hardy) would be placed on a record labeled “Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission List.” Who knew?

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has not been seen in public for eight days as one crisis after another has been revealed. Mind you, domestic violence and child abuse issues are nothing new to the NFL, with domestic violence having headlined the league at other times in its history. This month we saw pictures and video, however. As the saying goes, they are worth a thousand words.

For the last few weeks, even back to the summer, the league has been only reactionary. It’s being chased by its proverbial tale and it’s not a good look for an organization that earns billions of dollars each year and influences most sports media space. Was there no crisis communications plan in place?

Sponsors released statements, the public spoke loudly and the media continues to report, yet still no Goodell.

Hey, if I’m him, I don’t want to face the media and public after the scrutiny received after he made and changed his suspension of Ray Rice, either. The rules of crisis communications, which have served others well, however, are to be seen, heard (with information) and have one person — a face — to represent an organization. And whether you like it or not, Goodell is the face of the NFL. If the owners had any doubt, you would see one or more of them front and center.

I don’t believe the league is being silent. In fact whether you believe the relevance or sincerity, it announced the hiring of three women and elevated another to “help lead and shape the NFL’s policies and programs relating to domestic violence and sexual assault” early this week (these women are quite accomplished). I also think it had its grip firmly on the dealings with the “voluntary” namings of players to the Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission List.

But let’s face it. Goodell is in hiding. If he’s gathering facts so that he doesn’t make any ill advised moves like he did early in the Rice case, kudos to him. He must regain control of the league however. Show that someone is in charge and has a semblance of a plan to deal with the organization’s problems now. The only way to do that is to speak to fans that helped elevate the league to mega-star status.

So Roooogeeerrrr… come out wherever you are!



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