Transparency lessons from the NFL

I think the NFL’s handling of spying by the New England Patriots is poor. Of course, I expect retrograde, authoritarian, clumsy behavior from the NFL, and I haven’t been disappointed in the few decades I’ve been paying attention.
The New York Times covered this issue (the spying, not the decades). In their December 16 article, they quoted crisis management experts. Thinking about some of the big information exposure incidents we’ve seen, consider how applicable these observations might be.

The strategy is profoundly bad, I don’t know why they would destroy [taped evidence]. That’s astounding. There’s no criminality here, but it sure doesn’t pass the smell test.

Al Tortorella, managing director of crisis management, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide

They’re rolling the dice that the whole thing is just going to go away. And here’s the thing — a lot of this could be avoided.

Greg Wilson, crisis counselor and senior vice president, Levick Strategic Communications

Wilson sees a crisis that requires managing, a “clear-cut case of all the parties needing to rip off the Band-Aid as soon as possible.” The goal of managing any crisis, he said, is to acknowledge the black eye and compress the time it lasts.
Wilson says the American public generally wants to hear what he calls the Big Three of crisis management: I am sorry. I take responsibility. And I will fix it.

NYT, 12/16/2007

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