The bruises and scarring and suffering are not a PR problem.
The signs of battered woman syndrome are not a PR problem.
The tears of children are not a PR problem.
These are our problems and ones that society as a whole must address. The recent spate of domestic violence issues surrounding NFL players such as Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and others has shone a blinding spotlight on these issues and I hope it doesn’t go to waste.
But this is a PR blog and so we’ll tackle the PR issues. The NFL isn’t “messaging this correctly.” How could they not “get ahead of this?” What’s the talking point around the league owners’ positions?
This, of course, is all nonsense. The only thing that matters right now is for society to ensure that we do what we can to eliminate the sense that physical and emotional assault are acceptable behaviors. For the NFL, this means that any player arrested (key word as investigations do need to occur) for domestic/child abuse is suspended indefinitely without pay. A conviction results in immediate expulsion from the league.
I am an ardent fan of the NFL. I have spent more money with that league than I should even consider admitting. And I know that, ultimately, my singular voice is not enough to instigate change. But for those considering boycotting, do it. For those considering selling season tickets or burning Adrian Peterson jerseys, do it. For those considering reaching out for help, by all means, please do it now. Please.
Seattle-area domestic violence resources:
- Domestic Abuse Women’s Network advocacy line: (425) 656-7867
- King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- Washington State Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-562-6025
I know this is a sensitive topic and that words and actions matter. I am hoping that the PR and league leadership show that these issues truly matter and quit trying to sweep it away with union contracts and empty talking points about “due process” and wondering if certain players are “available” for a game.
Of course, there’s the story line of football being an aggressive sport and that they aren’t equipped to “shut it off.” I have spent off-field time with multiple NFL players. Some more genuine than others perhaps, but I’ll be damned if they weren’t able to turn it off. This is a cheap out for those that are accused of this. It’s time to take that easy excuse away.
So yeah, this isn’t a PR problem. This is our problem and I’m hoping that we as a collective society won’t continue to tolerate this problem.