Friday, July 22, 2011

NFL Commish needs a vacation, or better comms people

Because it's timely and I'm an NFL fan (and season ticket holder), I'll weigh in here with something I think is important for anyone in a position of authority or happens to work in the communications realm.

If the ratified CBA the owners sent to the NFLPA yesterday was not exactly what the players union saw earlier in the week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stepped right in the poo less than 10 seconds into his media briefing yesterday.

Because the last thing I need is some kind of copyright gripe, the video is easy enough to find over on

Said Goodell, "... The clubs approved an agreement that was negotiated with the players..."

Whooooaaaaa, hold on a minute cowboy. Really?

There are two big problems with that. 1. As stated above, if what you (eventually) sent to the players was not exactly what they saw earlier in the week, then no, it was not fully negotiated with the players. And 2. If it had been negotiated with the players why would you make a statement that implied ratification by the NFLPA should be a foregone conclusion? Wouldn't a joint press conference with Demaurice Smith and the player representatives have made a lot more sense?

Maybe the commissioner, who is famous for his up at 5:00 a.m., done around midnight workdays, needs a vacation.

Now I'm thinking I might be setting myself up to be Sam "Ace" Rothstein in that car talking to Andy Stone about Nicky Santoro in "Casino," but I digress.

Nevertheless, this brings me back to a recurring theme in the communications realm lately. Who is writing this stuff? Doesn't anybody pay attention to detail anymore? Doesn't anyone understand the magnitude of their words, written or spoken, in the public realm?

I don't know or care who or what's to blame for this epidemic, but all the commissioner had to say was the following and there would have been no backlash.

"The clubs have  reached an agreement among themselves that they believe is in the best interest of all parties and will allow the NFL season to begin as early as Saturday morning. There are details within this agreement that still need to be reviewed by the players' association, but we believed this is the most expeditious way forward at this moment. It is possible additional negotiation may be required. We thank the players for their efforts in bringing these negotiations to their current state and look forward to concluding these matters in very short order."

Period. End of story. No ruffled feathers. Players, your move.

How hard was that?


  1. It was strategery. He knows it's not exactly what they negotiated with the players, but by putting it out there that the owners have agreed to something that the players should accept, and making it sound like there's no good reason for the players to reject this deal, he's both pressuring the players to accept the deal and setting them up as the bad guy in the event this falls through.

    (Now, if the owners really wanted to get a mutually agreeable, good, fair deal done they wouldn't have to play these kinds of games, but that's another story.)

  2. If that's true, bad move. Completely undermines any goodwill the clubs may have built with the players, and also renders false any previous statements about wanting to "work together" for the betterment of the game.