The National Football League (NFL), has long sustained a period of growth and dominance. In the past 20 years, we’ve seen American football replace baseball as America’s national pastime. Even with flare-ups and controversies like questionable team names, spy-gates, lock-outs, and concussions, the “teflon league” continues to draw in record numbers. The NFL’s weekly game format, media-friendly structure, and fantasy playability has proven to be a perfect fit in today’s digital world. Alas, this most recent scandal may put a chink in the once pristine, family-friendly armor, and its ripple effects could be felt by the football organization for a long time.
The Ray Rice scandal, which included video footage of the Baltimore Ravens star in the aftermath of Ray beating his fiance (now wife) unconscious. This action was initially given a two game ban by the league, as approved by NFL commissioner Rodger Goodell. However, in today’s visual society the NFL found itself on the other-side of scrutiny when a second, more graphic video went viral. As of this posting, the league and commissioner have been put under the microscope from the same outlets and social media platforms that have previously been a boon for the professional sports organization.
Some are calling for Goodell’s resignation, others want reform for the league, or at least question the unyielding power the heads of the NFL seem to have. The PR train is in full swing down at NFL HQ, with Goodell having recently hired an independent private investigator to ease tensions and exonerate himself. Former FBI director Robert Muller has been involved in investigations from 9/11 to the Boston marathon bombings, thus is well aware of stakes and sensitivity, while his track record provides credibility for public.
However savvy it may be to save face by hiring a private investigator now, by waiting till this unfortunate event became a media frenzy, they have only hurt their brand, image, and reputation. This will certainly cost them millions, and would have proven a much wiser move to seek out an investigator back in February, when the incident first occurred.
Imagine what a little due diligence could have done for the organization. By hiring a PI in the Spring, they would have saved themselves the scandal this second video caused.
Though private investigators wouldn’t have access to the second video, from finding information on public record, and working with the NFL, much could be derived. For instance, points of discussion with this case has rarely focused on the police dept. or hotel involved. Both could be complicit in the mishandling of evidence and charges against the accused. A private investigator could seek out the corruption both externally and internally, which could lead to a more proficient, less scandal plagued organization.
The NFL is unlike anythings else. A powerful, (technically) non-profit that has a monopoly on the market, and a demand for it’s product that’s showing no signs of slowing down. Without a checks and balances system, the NFL has become a government onto itself, so using a private investigator in times of crisis would help the NFL become a more stable, consistent presence for all athletes and sports fans alike.