Flag on the play: 4 ways to fix the NFL’s PR mess

From player arrests to stories of hazing to a decline in participation at the youth level, pro football must take essential steps to address problems directly and for the long term.

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The 2013 NFL season kicked off with the shocking Aaron Hernandez murder inquiry and arrest, easily the biggest sports story of the year. The season has been disrupted by the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito bullying saga, including allegations of racial insults, death threats to families, and accusations of coercion involving coaches who should have been overseeing locker room culture.

Along with these is the serious, widespread, ongoing health concern of the NFL: concussions. Retired players are suffering from multiple mental diseases and afflictions resulting in premature memory loss, deterioration of motor skills, depression, and even death, sometimes by suicide.

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