Is the NFL Losing 45% of Its Fan Base?
"As always, we will continuously examine our procedures," Goodell writes (Opens as a PDF). "I believe that we took a significant step forward with the enhanced policies on domestic violence and sexual assault that were announced last month. I also know that we will be judged on our actions going forward. I am confident that those actions will demonstrate our commitment to address this issue seriously and effectively, and will reflect well on the NFL, all member clubs, and everyone who is a part of our league."
A few hours earlier, a dozen members of Congress sent Goodell a letter requesting "the highest level of transparency." A smattering of other headlines include:
- "Will Female Fans, Sponsors Forgive the NFL?"
- "What Ray Rice Should Mean for NFL's Female Fan Base"
- "The Culture Of Football—Hit Hit Hit! #whyIleft"
- "NOW Wants Roger Goodell Out"
- "Keith Olbermann Calls on NFL Commissioner to Resign Over Ray Rice Incident"
- "TMZ's Harvey Levin: We Have Proof NFL 'Turned a Blind Eye' to Ray Rice Video"
This is the time when the NFL determines its course—transparency or cover-up. Goodell's letter may show an attempt at transparency. Time will tell.
For the tobacco industry, the turning point came in 1950 when research revealed smoking causes health problems. The industry initiated a cover-up by creating false, pro-tobacco studies. In 1964, when the Surgeon General's findings were the same as the original research, about 42.4 percent of adult Americans stayed with the product. In 1998, about 25 percent of Americans smoked and tobacco companies agreed pay $10 billion annually, indefinitely, for the damage caused by the cover-up. From 2009 to 2012, the percentage of U.S. adults who smoke held at 18.
Using a different organization as a model, Michelle deHaaff provides advice for marketers so they can prevent horrible incidents from happening. In "Comcast's Customer Experience Debacle: 3 Ways to Prevent Frontline Disasters" on CustomerThink.com, she writes: