3 Things NFL Must Do to Address Public Image Problem
These past few months have put a stain on what seemed to be a pretty clean image that was upheld by the NFL. With the incidents of Bountygate going public, combined with the hundreds of lawsuits by former players and more news coming out by the day about players' mental health after their career, the NFL front office has some cleaning up to do.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has been doing much to try to negate player misconduct, but now he has new issues to tackle with bounties and player health. Here are five things the league must do to repair its image.
Goodell has been known to be stiff on players who misbehave and find themselves in trouble off the field. One of those players who always found himself in trouble was Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones. He has been disciplined by Goodell a few times for off-fied field misconduct, and it seems as though the missed paychecks finally got to him. Jones has not been suspended since he returned to the NFL in 2010.
The moral of that story is if Goodell wants to stop players from getting in trouble, he needs to hit them where it hurts: in their pockets. Some players have learned, some players have not, but sooner or later the missed paychecks will add up and the players will act right soon.
Another way Goodell and his front office members can clean up the league's image is by attacking the leaders of organizations, such as coaches and management. Regarding Bountygate, Goodell has suspended New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton for a full season and general manager Mickey Loomis for eight games in this upcoming season.
What better way to influence a team than disciplining the people they respond to and take instructions from? Things like bounties on players will soon decrease if teams realize they can lose their playcaller or motivator for an entire season.
In the Saints' situation, they can miss out on a year of contention just because they do not have their primary signal caller along with them. This can affect them drastically. If Goodell wants to clean up the NFL's image, disciplining a team's top men can help everyone realize they need to get it together.
The NFL has hundreds of lawsuits being filed against them because of the "life after football" crisis. Many retired players are having trouble maintaining a normal lifestyle once they leave the league because they suffer from many brain and other health issues.
Jim McMahon is one of the players who has filed a lawsuit against the NFL because of the struggles that have occurred after his career. He suffers from short-term memory loss, and like many other former players, suffers from brain damage from multiple concussions.
In order for Goodell and the NFL to clean up their image, they must reach an ultimatum and settle these many lawsuits with the former players. The more former players that come out and badmouth the NFL, the worse it can get.
They must find a way to satisfy these former players and make sure they can not only satisfy them, but also make sure the current players do not have these same conflicts once they retire.