Handling Crises Better in the NFL

By Nick Bucci, Communications Committee

NFL

Image Credit: Guardian LV

It seems that time and time again NFL players and personnel are in the news for all the wrong reasons. Does the NFL have (do I dare say it) a culture problem? Just as cases like Aaron Hernandez’s impending murder trial and the DUIs handed out to the Denver Broncos executives make their ways to the back of our minds, another young star is in the news for the wrong reasons. San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith has checked into rehab for alcohol abuse following a recent DUI arrest.

What should the NFL and its commissioner Roger Goodell do to combat these recent red flags from the league?  The best way to convince the public that not all NFL players are bad people, according to College of Communications professor Steve Manuel, is to publicize all of the good things they do.

Manuel cites the “10 percent rule,” which basically means 10 percent of any population is bound to mess up in some way, shape or form. He believes the NFL needs to highlight the good things the other 90 percent are doing, such as their continuous work with local communities through United Way and their NFL Play 60 program, which encourages kids to be active at least 60 minutes a day.

If the public hears about all the good things going on, they might forget about the few bad things that may happen every now and then.

But in case that strategy doesn’t work, sometimes the best news could be no news. Laying low and staying out of public eye can help get the NFL headed in the right direction.

“It’s an uphill fight,” Manuel said. “It’s easy to lose your reputation and difficult to get it back.” But no matter how hard the fight may be, it’s not one America’s favorite sport can afford to take laying down.

How do you think the NFL should handle these crises?

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