NFL PeRceptions

      5 Comments on NFL PeRceptions

Taylor Pirone, MA ’17

This summer, Public Relations Nation is occasionally featuring research by Hofstra University graduate students. This capstone paper was authored by Taylor Pirone who earned her MA in public relations in May:

“While the majority of viewers are not allowing the negativity to keep them from watching football, the domestic violence conflicts have still shaped the perception of both the media and the public,” Tyler wrote in her paper titled, “Domestic Violence in the NFL: An Analysis of Fan Perception.” Taylor conducted 133 surveys; Hofstra student-athletes made up about two-thirds of the respondents, with the remainder divided among non-student-athletes and faculty. Three focus group interviews were also conducted, one with female athletes, a second with male athletes, and a third with non-athlete students. 

In the survey, participants rated the effectiveness of the National Football League’s policy on domestic violence on a scale of 1 to 10. The average response was just under a five. When asked to explain how the NFL’s stance on domestic violence shaped their perceptions of the league, the three most common responses were, “It does not shape my opinion,” “The league only cares about money,” and “Athletes are above the law.” Over 85% of the respondents recognized that the NFL has the highest crime rate among professional sports leagues, and 11% were in favor of a lifetime ban for players successfully convicted of domestic violence.

“The NFL has established a baseline policy for dealing with domestic violence, but they have not followed it,” Taylor noted. She concluded that the NFL continues to fall short in their handling of these incidents as well as the bad PR which follows. “From a public relations standpoint, the NFL must do a more efficient job dealing with domestic violence cases, including being more efficient in following the policies that are in place to penalize players,” she wrote. “The NFL also needs a more solid crisis communication plan to deal with the media when a domestic violence incident occurs. Additionally, the NFL must continue to support organizations that stand up against domestic violence and continue to raise awareness for domestic violence survivors.”

Your thoughts?


5 thoughts on “NFL PeRceptions

  1. John Grillea

    The NFL has always been covered with scandals! Domestic violence has been a major one for years and Taylor’s research project was really well thought out. It definitely would have had some mixed results if her research was also done in other areas, but overall I still think it would have been pretty similar due to how most feel about the NFL regarding domestic violence. I just think that the NFL is so big and successful that they really could care less to have an overall crisis plan. It’s the individual players that should have one in tact because I don’t see the actions of one player ruining a franchise. At the end of the day it’s all about profit. Until that decreases, I don’t see any changes in football occurring!

  2. Kara Schilder

    I agree with a lot of what Daniela is thinking. I think that especially with a topic such as domestic violence in the NFL, its difficult to collect even and fair data. There is no telling who had prior knowledge of these incidents, who is fans of what team, and where other biases may lay. In regards to my opinion concerning should the NFL get more involved in their players pr, I struggle because part of me thinks that there should be a line between professional and personal, yet the other part of me thinks that no matter what, if someone is being hurt physically or emotionally, it is necessary for ANYONE to step in… I’m not sure if it would effect the profits in the NFL industry. I feel like as a generalization, women are primarily more concerned with the personal lives of celebrities and men are more interested in the work they produce. Taylor’s data shows a decrease in women viewers, but not men, which i found interesting. I wonder if its because women care more about the outside-of-work mentality as well as the athletes’ work.

  3. Alexys Lucas

    I completely agree that the NFL needs to do a better job in handling these domestic violence issues. As the problem persists I feel that it is obvious that the players are not receiving enough punishment when it comes to domestic violence and other violations of the law. It would save the organization a lot of trouble to ban players from participating after an illegal offense. This crisis only hurts the NFL and encourages its bad reputation with domestic violence scandals and players that participate in illegal activity. This only reinforces the idea that the only thing the NFL cares about is money. While this may be true, it would only help their efforts to maintain a positive image and even support organizations that raise awareness and fight to solve domestic abuse.

  4. Daniela gagliano

    We have all heard of violent incidents regarding the NFL, but I personally don’t think the violence and aggression portrayed by these sports and with the help of the media is limited to just football. There have been several cases in basketball as well of crime and immoral activity. For any sports organization, it’s important to have a crisis strategy and excellent crisis communication in regards to an entire team, where each individual represents part of a whole. Any team member of any sport can be capable of any crime, assault, or negative PR. This is true not only in a male sport, but female sports as well. Taylors study took a sample of 133 students from the same, single college campus. Although the sample was conducted with random participants, surely that number couldn’t ever reflect the ideals of society as a whole. With this in mind, it’s fair to say that students on Long Island at Hofstra University may have completely different statistics than students being polled at Ohio State University. I think Taylor’s study is a great perspective, but in order to make a greater argument that people would deem credible- her expressions should be backed up by more quantitative data and NFL specific case studies or evidence. Additionally, contrasting point of views should be included that could possibly strengthen her argument.

  5. Aliyah

    I’d heard of a few isolated cases of domestic violence with NFL players, but was unaware of just how rampant this issue was within the League as a whole. It’s extremely disturbing and disgusting! I don’t think the NFL particularly cares about bad PR regarding its players. First, it hasn’t seemed to impact the popularity of football in the US or drive down sales. Second, the players’ skills matter more than their characters to make a team successful. Even fans sometimes overlook their favorite player’s personal vices if they like him on the field. In the end, I think sales and profit are priority for the NFL, and perception will be secondary until it impacts those two things.


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