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Sports

NFL Fumbles on Domestic Violence Again, Accused of Hiding ‘Hundreds’ of Abuse Cases

NFL-domestic-abuse

Typically, the question is “Are you ready for some football?” These days, as the NFL is drowning in sea of murky despair and hapless PR, that question would be, “Are you ready for some football…justice?”

It all started with Ray Rice being a despicable coward and knocking his then-fiancée smooth out in an elevator. There was Greg Hardy, who body-slammed his girlfriend onto a bed full of semi-automatic guns (because that’s what you check at the door for NFL parties). There’s Ray McDonald — who is still playing because Goodell is a dope — arrested for beating up his pregnant girlfriend. There is Adrian Peterson, who took the classy way out and left his estranged wife alone, instead opting to “whoop” and scar his 4-year-old son.

And now there’s this: a former NFL general manager says that, over his 30-year career, “hundreds and hundreds” of domestic violence incidents were simply ignored.

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Dick’s Sporting Goods Called Sexist…by a 12-Year-Old Girl

giant and dicksIt’s never a good thing when a notable chain gets called out via social media, but unless a few trolls find it, the call out will usually cause little drama and vanish quickly.

A few things create a good viral customer complaint:

1. Something so strange that people just have to read it, then share it. 

2. Something so uncommon about the store that one wouldn’t suspect it to be called out.

3. Something so interesting about the customer doing the call out.

Thank goodness all those stars lined up against a chain with an unfortunate name.

A sporting goods store is accused of being sexist by a 12-year-old girl whose daddy happens to be a sports journalist.

If the sign fits…

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NFL Wasn’t Joking About That Beats Ban

colin beatsRemember that time the NFL said players shouldn’t be caught wearing Beats by Dre headphones before, during or after games because the league’s ears belong to Bose? Colin Kaeperneck tried it and got fined.

After a game on Sunday, Kaepernick wore a large pink pair of Beats headphones to a press conference. (The headphones are pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.) For the infraction, Kaepernick was fined $10,000.

But is this all a part of a Beats PR plan?

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Beats Gets Hit With Another Marketing Blow: NFL Bans Them For Bose Deal

colin beatsBeats by Dre headphones have a great relationship with athletes, not such a great relationship with athletic leagues. Bose is the latest brand to negotiate a marketing deal that effectively gives the boot to Beats. The contract with the NFL bans them from pre-season practices and training camps, from actual games, and all televised interviews no matter where they are (in the locker room, during a press conference, etc). The NFL is responsible for enforcing the rule.

Previously, Sony entered into a licensing deal with FIFA and basically banned Beats from soccer matches. Both brands have clearly learned their lesson from the Olympics, in which Panasonic had a sponsorship deal and was overshadowed by all of the athletes walking around rocking their free Beats headphones.

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Should PR Pay Attention to Derek Jeter’s ‘The Players’ Tribune?’

Derek Jeter FinalLast Wednesday’s launch of the Derek Jeter-founded The Players’ Tribune, a digital forum for athletes, scored a home run from a media coverage standpoint. Later that day, key editorial and marketing executives involved in the venture –along with Jeter’s agent — appeared on a panel at Advertising Week New York to discuss the platform further.

The Players’ Tribune may be a worthwhile outlet for PR firms with clients whose business is associated with sports, since the site plans to feature branded content in addition to athlete-contributed content. Here’s the inside track:

What The Players’ Tribune is…

  • “It’s like the Go Pro of sports journalism, offering an inside first-person perspective”, said Jason Marks, executive creative director.
  • “We’re giving the athletes that fans know and love a voice. This is longform social, to tell stories with content in a natural way”, added Mark Grande, VP content strategy.
  • “It will be a platform where athletes control their own voice. It’s meant to complement what’s out there and provide opinions, POVs and perspective”, said Jaymee Messer, CMO, Excel Sports Management, Derek Jeter’s agency.

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#PRWin? NFL Sponsor Verizon Clarifies Position on Domestic Violence

nfl

So far, we’d be hard-pressed to name an organization whose handling of the NFL domestic violence controversy made it look good. While some of the league’s larger sponsors have issued statements about their disapproval of domestic abusers, they haven’t done much to back those statements up.

For example, here’s the initial statement on the Adrian Peterson story from Verizon:

“We are supportive of the NFL and, at this point, we are satisfied with our sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings…In fact, for the past several years we have collaborated with the Vikings on several programs to raise awareness of the impact of domestic violence, an issue Verizon has had a long-standing commitment to.”

Yesterday, Forbes contributor/Media Carmudgeon writer Charles Warner shared a message that the company sent him in response to a story criticizing the league; he thought it was good enough to warrant a follow-up post with the headline “Great PR.”

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Michael Phelps’ Image Takes Another ‘Hit’ as He Heads to Rehab

michael phelps

Michael Phelps, 29, is the most decorated Olympian in history, with 22 medals (18 of them gold) from the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics. And although he “retired” after the London Olympics, the guy is used to a certain joie de vivre. He loves the spotlight.

Let’s say it provides him a certain “high.”

The lackluster pedestrian life might not be enough for Phelps. According to Maryland police, Phelps was “speeding excessively and crossing double lane lines within the Fort McHenry Tunnel on Interstate 95 in Baltimore around 1:40 a.m. Tuesday.”

After a DUI and a good amount of public shame, Phelps decided not to say “no, no, no”: he’s headed to rehab.

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Bill Simmons Proves That ESPN Protects Its Image, Not Its Journalism

bill simmons podcastBill Simmons, aka “The Sports Guy,” who is easily one of the most popular people at ESPN now faces a three-week suspension for criticizing his bosses.

In case you haven’t already read it three times, here’s the statement that earned him all that time off:

“I really hope someone calls me or emails me and says I’m in trouble for anything I said about Roger Goodell because if one person says that to me, I’m going public,” Simmons warned. “You leave me alone. The Commissioner is a liar and I get to say that on my podcast.”

The less-responsible Stephen A. Smith got one week for saying Janay Rice had provoked her own beating. Simmons made a stand, pointed a finger in his bosses’ direction, and got three weeks.

Fair? Nope. Retribution? Yup. Outcry? Definitely.

But what does this say about the ESPN organization?

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5 PR Experts Weigh in on NFL’s Attempt to ‘Combat Domestic Violence’

Peaceful football

We’re all well aware that the National Football League has a big problem on its hands. A recent YouGov survey tells us that the NFL brand has experienced “the [sharpest drop] in consumer perception since Target’s data breach” last December.

Here’s something you may have missed this week: in order to confront all that terrible publicity, the league announced the creation of a “social responsibility team” consisting of its own community affairs VP Anna Isaacson and three (female) advisers, each of whom have built careers as experts on the prevention of domestic violence and sex crimes.

The question: is this a meaningless stunt or an earnest attempt to address underlying issues?

This week, we spoke to five industry experts to get their take on the league’s move. For context, we’ll start with quotes from two of the women involved, who will be responsible for “policy-making and education.”

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Bryan Cranston Promotes MLB Postseason with Hilariously Fake One-Man Show

So, what’s Bryan Cranston doing with himself after the glory that was “Breaking Bad,” you ask? Why, he’s tackling a one-man show, of course — why steal a show by outshining everyone around you when you can just play all the roles yourself? And what better subject matter than postseason baseball to encompass all the intense highs and lows of human emotion?

In perhaps our favorite promo for post season athletics to date, Cranston gives an in-depth behind-the-scenes look at a one-man masterpiece that, sadly, doesn’t actually exist. The spoof features the award-winning actor portraying baseball players for multiple different teams, among other roles, while the “backstage” collaborations include dance lessons from a prima ballerina and a tutorial on trophy accepting from a baseball great.

Cranston also flawlessly delivers ridiculous lines like, “Any actor who tells you that he is not inspired by Bugs Bunny is a liar, frankly, or just a hack,” with unflinching seriousness.

Oh, and the lyrics to ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame” have never, ever sounded so epically dramatic.

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