Don’t Fumble, Again

 Wonder who's really boss?  Follow money and find out.

Wonder who’s really boss?
Follow money and find out.

Roger Goodell can’t catch a break.

It’s been a tough year for the NFL commissioner. Wrestling with how to mete out penalties to players for domestic abuse and drug use. Trying to resolve a dispute concerning major head trauma in a way that doesn’t make the league seem callous about the dangers of a violent sport.

Now he’s dealing with the hot potato of “deflategate.”

Certainly he didn’t want to repeat his indecisive handling of the Ray Rice debacle, in which the NFL was widely accused of condoning domestic violence because it didn’t punish it.

This time, his decision was swift. Star quarterback Tom Brady got a four-game suspension, and the New England Patriots were fined $1 million and lost two draft picks. (Brady and Patriots owner Robert Kraft were livid. Brady has already appealed, and the Patriots are expected to.)

Goodell’s dilemma: To whom does he owe loyalty? To the public, or the 32 team owners who pay his salary?

The predicament is the same for anyone in the public arena.

Consider a corporate Board of Directors. Historically they were rubber stamps for management. As their legal liability increased, they became more demanding. (Think Dov Charney, who was fired by the Board as CEO of the company he founded, American Apparel.)

Or non-profit Boards. They’re usually volunteers who want to help a cause they believe in, but often they lack tools necessary to verify what they’re told. This leaves them reliant on the staff. Without oversight, bad things happen — from disappearing funds to human resources problems.

Or politicians. There’s always been tension between the wishes of the public and the wishes of those who write big campaign checks. That pendulum swings significantly depending on which donations are legally permissible at the moment.

Regardless of whose bidding is being done, don’t expect to be told who’s pulling the strings. Motives will be dressed up with rationales that sound more high-minded than they really are.

—–

“Because Reputation Is Your Most Valuable Asset”

Gillott Communications is a Strategic PR firm. We’re Fixers. Crisis & Reputation Management. Litigation. Media Relations. Crisis Prep. More than half a century of expertise working with clients to resolve issues both in and outside the media’s glare — in their professional and personal lives.

You can reach Roger Gillott and Eden Gillott Bowe directly at 310-396-8696.

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For a deeper glimpse into our world, see our book on Amazon, “A Lawyer’s Guide to Crisis PR: Protecting Your Clients In & From the Media.”

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

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One thought on “Don’t Fumble, Again

  1. Roger and Eden, you’ve exactly nailed it once again. Follow the Money.
    I honestly believe Roger Goodell is a public relations genius. His mission is to serve the NFL owners and make sure people keep filling stadiums, watching TV, and buying team jerseys. So whenever anything bad happens, he takes action that is tardy and/or inadequate and/or stupid and then HE becomes the story, protecting team owners, and attracting negative energy like a lightning rod in Oklahoma. So here’s how Goodell’s deflategate punishment will play out: The players union will handle Brady’s appeal, his punishment be reduced or eliminated, and that will take care of that. The Patriots have been fined a million dollars. The team is said to be worth a billion dollars, so their fine is the equivalent of fining a millionaire only $1,000. No pain at all there. The Patriots lose two draft choices. They just won the Super Bowl, so they have the lowest draft picks in the league. No loss there at all. So Roger Goodell makes it look like he took strong action, but it’s just all a charade. And he’s doing his job perfectly.

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