If an organization has an image problem, but there’s little anger, does that organization really have an image problem after all?
That’s the paradox surrounding the NFL and how it has handled adversity of late. The league can’t seem to do anything about the rate at which its players get concussions, and former players are suing the NFL left and right claiming it was negligent in protecting its players.
Proposed rule changes are drawing the ire of fans and players alike, and yet nobody seems to be interested in boycotting the NFL or deciding against fielding a wildly underperforming fantasy team.
Surely if the NFL started violating the basic rights of potential employees, there would be backlash, right? Surely then the league would suffer some reputational damage.
Instead, there seems to be little outrage that certain NFL teams were asking players about their sexuality during interviews at the league’s draft combine last month. On top of that, the NFL doesn’t seem overly concerned about the issue. The league announced that it launched an investigation, sending every sports fan who knows anything about the NFL into a collective eye roll.
The findings of that investigation were published in The New York Times
on Monday. While Robert Gulliver, head of the NFL’s HR department, called the comment “inappropriate,” his office deemed it was not part of the formal interview process. Now, the NFL is planning to meet with gay community groups.
The Atlantic Wire
’s Connor Simpson isn’t buying the ploy—he called it a “PR move”—and neither should you.
It’s likely that very soon the NFL will be so powerful that it won’t need to care about pesky news reports that call into question the legality of their hiring practices. That’s what happens when your product is too popular to have an image problem.