Corporate Whitewashing

NFLbreastcancerawarenessBy Gerard Braud

The NFL now has two strikes against it for throwing money at advocacy groups and causes as a way to make it appear they care about an issue. Is this corporate whitewashing?

It wasn’t until concussion issues became part of a high-profile lawsuit that the NFL began donating money to groups who could research concussions. They knew about concussions for a long time, but really did nothing about eliminating the risk.

It wasn’t until Ray Rice’s video of him punching his fiancé became public that the NFL began donating money to groups who advocate against domestic violence. They didn’t do it when other players were accused of domestic violence and they didn’t do it six months ago when the Rice case first emerged.

The only thing the NFL has freely donated to without it tied to a scandal is their October breast cancer awareness campaign. Although my cynical mind says this was done primarily as a way to embrace the highly lucrative female audience around the same time the NFL launched its apparel lines for females.

When I was a journalist covering GreenPeace campaigns, they used the term Greenwashing. Greenwashing was characterized as a company with a history of pollution contributing to an environmental cause, even though the pollution continued unabated. The cynical mind of GreenPeace didn’t hesitate to call out the diversion.

Is the NFL, in an attempt to divert attention from their crisis, guilty of whitewashing?

The rules of crisis management and crisis communications are the same as the rules of trust: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

It appears the NFL has two strikes clearly against them.

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