Is “The Shield” Tarnished?

As I’m sure many of you know, the NFL has been going through a bit of an image problem recently. Since the end of the ‘13-’14 season, there have been a number of high-profile NFL players arrested including stars such as Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy and Ray Rice. More shocking than the number of high-profile athletes being arrested is the violent charges that they are being brought up on. Rodger Goodell has received a plentiful amount of criticism for his handling of these individual cases. Minimal league actions were taken against Ray Rice (2 game suspension) and Greg Hardy (no suspension), who were both brought up on domestic violence charges among many other NFL players. It wasn’t until after the Baltimore Ravens and Carolina Panthers each suspended their players that the league took further action. The NFL later suspended both players indefinitely. Adrian Peterson, a previous league MVP and highly prolific figure-head within the NFL, also did not received a suspension by the NFL until after the Minnesota Vikings took initiative suspending Peterson because of child abuse charges.

So my question is, does the NFL, one of the most prolific and well-known entertainment brands in the United States, have an image problem? Well, if the number of high-profile players in the NFL getting arrested isn’t an indication that the NFL has quite a huge image problem, I don’t know how to put it more blankly.

One thing the NFL does better than any other organization in the United States is put forth the highest quality of entertainment week-in and week-out while remaining in the publics eyes through constantly flooding all marketing platforms with highlights, match-ups and analytical debates. With recently image problems, particularly those revolving around the insensitivity showed towards women and the number of violent acts committed off the field, how will the NFL expect to keep the respect of its fans that ‘The Shield” has worked tirelessly to earn from nearly a decade of excellence.

The NFL front office has since hired four women to help develop a new domestic violence policy that will go into effect immediately. The NFL has always excelled at protecting “The Shield” and the marketing of their brand. The NFL should not have any problem marketing their brand since it fills a large entertainment void in America. A well established marketing and branding strategy has kept the NFL above water through various PR hits in the past and only time will tell if the respect for “The Shield” stays strong.

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