The NFL’s PR Crisis

I had to search for this article on PR daily since it isn’t the most current one. I am a die hard NFL fan so this is an article that really interests me. The article was titled, “After PR crisis, NFL and refs union hammer out a deal,” written by Michael Sebastian. 

In this article Sebastian recaps the horror that was the NFL replacement refs. If you are not familiar with the NFL, the replacement refs were some unqualified refs that filled in for the NFL refs who were on strike due to contract disputes with the NFL. Instead of paying the refs the money they demanded the NFL let the real refs go on strike and hired all new “replacement refs,” many of which had never even refereed a college football game. The replacement refs were awful to watch and caused a lot of controversy which finally reached its boiling point on Monday Night Football when the replacement refs completely messed up on a game winning touchdown call. The refs missed a pass interference call and gave a touchdown to Seattle Seahawks’ Golden Tate, who blatantly did not have possession of the ball, which allowed Seattle to beat the Green Bay Packers.

This is when the social media firestorm hit critical level. Packers players and just about everyone and their mother took to Twitter to unleash their anger towards the NFL for having unqualified refs ruin a Monday Night Football Game. Even presidential and vice presidentail candidates, Barak Obama and Paul Ryan, chimed in on the subject by saying the NFL needs to get the real refs back. One Green Bay player, TJ Lang, had more than 150,000 retweets on two of his “colorful” tweets towards the NFL. Sports commentators said the NFL’s reputation was in a crisis. Two days after the game the NFL and the real refs hammered out a late night deal to reinstate the real refs.

This just goes to show how much media and social media can influence a decision. The NFL has one of the highest, if not the highest, reputations in all professional sports. With almost everyone in the world, including President Barak Obama, criticizing the NFL for making fans suffer through games with poor officiating, the NFL had no choice but to hammer out a deal. John Nichols, writer for The Nation, gave unions (like the NFL refs) a piece of advice via twitter, “Outrage over absence of real refs gets settlement by NFL w/refs union. Lesson: Make union struggles popular struggles.” This goes back to what we learned about in class: make it easy, clear, POPULAR, and mandatory.

Here is a link to the article: http://www.prdaily.com/crisiscommunications/Articles/After_PR_crisis_NFL_and_refs_union_hammer_out_a_de_12769.aspx

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