NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s latest public relations strategy is sending e-mails.
Lots of them.
According to ESPN, Goodell sent an e-mail emphasizing the NFL’s various safety programs to 10 million names in a database today.
According to the report, the letter states the NFL will “deliver the game that the fans love and the safety that players deserve,” and “continue to find ways to protect players so they can enjoy longer careers on the field and healthier lives off the field.”
While this seems fine and good, it doesn’t sound any different than the horn Goodell has been tooting for a while now. Why send a massive, 1,000-word email to millions of fans today?
Two words: damage control.
This email comes just a day after ESPN and Sports Illustrated published two excerpts of the new book ”League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth,” written by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru. What the book reveals is apparently as ominous as the title sounds.
According to Fainaru and Fainaru-Wada, the NFL has been downplaying the effects of concussions for years and has even discredited valid independent research in favor of their own, which naturally minimized the dangers associated with concussions. Shocking.
The NFL’s previous treatment of concussions, along with allegedly hiding facts, formed the basis of the recent lawsuit filed by more than 4,500 former players. The players settled for $765 million, but many believe they could have received more.
While ESPN seems to be playing up the importance of the book–it was written by two ESPN writers–it does seem odd that Goodell would make such a widespread first strike promoting safety before “League of Denial” has even reached bookshelves. Unless, of course, Goodell already knows what people are going to read in it.
Roger Goodell, you just passed Public Relations 101.