The NFL may be one of the largest non-profit organizations, but will it be able to survive the negative press that it receives? With recent understanding of the intensity of concussions that players suffer from, the NFL has received a large amount of backlash for its inability to inform the players and the public. While most viewers are likely to continue watching their favorite teams, people are still taking notice of the NFL’s significant blunders. Let’s take a look at some ways the NFL and other sports organizations can handle negative press:
1. Accept the blame.
In order for the NFL to appear reliable once more, it is important that the it stop ignoring the elephant in the room and acknowledge the issues that are developing each day. Paying attention to concussions, drug abuse and other legal infractions can help restore faith in viewers.
2. Be transparent.
Open communication is a key element of any successful organization, but in times of crisis it is essential. Creating a clear and honest statement will help emphasize the fundamentals of the affected entity and hopefully prevent future crises. If employees are trained in crisis communication and issues management, then the attitudes of and statements made by officials will benefit the NFL to a greater degree.
3. Set an example.
In order to become a thought-leader in the industry, the NFL must implement new regulations to help prevent concussions as well as negative behavior from players. This will show the public that a change is occurring. The organization must go beyond making claims. The NFL must take action.
Until the NFL develops a game plan for handling of its current issues, the league will continue to suffer in terms of its reputation and following. By implementing these and other ideas, the organization is likely to recover and regain the trust of both players and fans.
As a student of political communications and someone who hopes to work in Washington D.C. one day, I couldn’t help but pay attention to the recent fight over the Affordable Care Act and the ensuing government shutdown. One thing sprung to mind on Tuesday Oct. 1 when the government had shutdown and thousands were out of their jobs, does Washington have a communication problem?
Many people are responsible for the communication problems in our Nation’s Capital. Is the Obama administration at fault? They surely haven’t done an efficient job of communicating the details of the Affordable Care Act and how positive its effects can be. Jimmy Kimmel recently made a parody of the shutdown, asking people whether they supported the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. Many of the individuals weren’t able to recognize that both are the exact same thing. This is evidence of the President’s loss in the framing war of his most prized piece of legislation. The Republican Party was successfully able to brand the Affordable Care Act as Obamacare and give it a negative connotation in the process.
However, the Obama administration isn’t the only side to blame. By ignoring key factors in the political sphere, some members of the Republican Party are also at fault. Sen. Ted Cruz, and others in the Republican Party, repeatedly supported a budget bill that looked relatively similar to the Democrats’ budget bill, except for the fact that it defunded Obamacare. Despite the fact that the majority of the public supports the Affordable Care Act and the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the act, Republicans repeatedly refuse to see that fact. They believe that they are working on behalf of the American people. Either they are choosing to be misleading in their communication, or they are inept at interpreting communication.
So who is really to blame? Could all of Washington benefit from a little PR help? Of course I’m not claiming to know how to do it better than the pros who are working in Washington, but I believe that some of them may have gotten so focused on being right that they’ve ignored what is right before their ears. When that happens, we all suffer.
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