I’ve had more than one person ask me when I was going to write about the NFL’s current PR nightmare on The Snap. I was initially hesitant because this is one heck of a sticky situation.
In a way, discussing this debacle goes against the idea of this blog. We try to give you something that you can’t really get many other places when it comes to football. You can log onto any news site right now and see the latest NFL headline. You can read commentary out to wazoo on all the things that have gone wrong. You don’t need us for that.
The Snap is a place for you to come to learn about football in a way that’s not intimidating and hopefully somewhat entertaining. Whether you like it or not, the NFL plays a huge part in our culture and we think that so many good things can come out of educating “less enthusiastic” fans about the game.
We like to keep things positive on here and there are very few positive things to say in regards to this situation.
I think Peter King really summed up our feelings best in this Monday Morning Quarterback post. “Should we like football?” is the question that Peter poses to the reader. We all know that it’s a dangerous sport. It’s a money-making machine where the bottom-line continues to dictate some very important decisions. It’s a league where their code of conduct policy and punishment system has been rightly questioned.
I know all this, and yet, when it comes time for games on Sunday, I’m going to watch.
I’m going to watch because I know that there are a lot of decent guys in the league. I don’t know any of the players personally, but I have to believe that the majority of them are good people who are achieving their dreams. Like Peter expressed, there are just too many good stories for me to walk away right now.
That doesn’t mean we’re ok with everything that has taken place.
What Ray Rice did was wrong. What Greg Hardy allegedly did was wrong. What Adrian Peterson allegedly did was wrong. What Jonathan Dwyer allegedly did was wrong. The list doesn’t end there. There are too many players who have been involved in domestic violence and assault cases, and clearly the league hasn’t handled it appropriately over the years. It’s sad that it took a video leak for the extent of the violence to “become real” and instigate a public outcry. My heart breaks for the victims whose names are in the news, as well as all the names we don’t know.
If you read this lengthy investigative ESPN report, you’ll see that there were allegedly a lot of missteps in the Ray Rice case, including the initial punishment handed down by the commissioner. I don’t really know any other commissioner other than Roger Goodell because I started liking football when Paul Tagliabue’s time as commissioner was coming to an end. I don’t follow any other sports closely enough to be able to compare Roger to Adam Silver (NBA), Bud Selig (MLB), and Gary Bettman (NHL), with the exception of the time I paid attention to the Adam Silver press conference earlier this year where he discussed the Donald Sterling ban.
Was I so wrong to hope that Goodell would use his press conference on September 19th to make a definitive statement like Silver did?
If you didn’t watch Goodell’s press conference, you didn’t miss too much. He spent 45 minutes evading questions and failed to give us any new details. It was a gigantic missed opportunity to say something that would make us feel better about how the league is handling the situation.
The whole situation, for someone who genuinely enjoys watching the sport, is frustrating beyond belief.
That’s all well and good Michelle, you say, but what does Olivia Pope have to do with all this?
Well, besides making for a very catchy title, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought to myself that the league needs an Olivia Pope of their own.
I don’t routinely watch Scandal, but I’ve seen enough episodes to know that someone like Olivia is needed. In case you aren’t familiar with the ABC show, its protagonist Olivia Pope, played by the lovely Kerry Washington, is a “fixer” for the DC elite. She’s got a team of “gladiators” that help her make other peoples’ problems go away. She drinks a lot of wine and has an enviable wardrobe. She’s a boss.
I’m sure the NFL has a team of “Olivias.” The league is too powerful not to have a crisis management team of PR professionals ready to react at any given time, which is why I’m surprised as to why it’s gotten as bad as it has.
If Olivia worked at the NFL, I know she would have obtained the Ray Rice video within minutes and subsequently come up with a better plan than to plead ignorance. Olivia’s intuition is one of her best qualities and I have to believe that her gut would have told her things were not ok. With all the conflicting information, I don’t know who to believe, but Olivia would have known. She would have recognized that the video would eventually become public and that ultimately a 2-game suspension wasn’t enough. She wouldn’t have been able to predict the rash of players with legal problems, but she would have dealt with each high-stress situation and looked good while doing it. She would have done the right thing, more or less, and the NFL would have emerged in a much better spot than they are now.
Yes, I know Olivia is a fictional character, but if one person in the league had channeled her, would I have needed to write this post? Probably not.
So there you have it. We won’t ignore the NFL PR nightmare on The Snap, but we’re not going to focus on it for the reasons we have described. We will continue to post the good stories on here until there aren’t any left to tell.
This debacle tells us that change is needed, and I think the league has received that message loud and clear. If there is any positive to come out of this situation, it’s the spotlight on domestic abuse, which is deserving of the conversation.
Maybe Olivia Pope will get us through this situation after all…