Reputation is everything, in life and business. And today, with social media enabling anyone with a following to be an activist or spokesperson, that can be a dangerous thing for entrepreneurs with large or growing organizations. Take, for example, the NFL…
Until this year, the NFL was the only pro sports league I made time to routinely watch. Not surprisingly, it was the most successful sports league in North American history. I almost always made a point of catching at least one game per week, no matter who was playing. That was a testament to the presentation of the NFL and the experience it provided fans at home or at the stadium. The novel features of fantasy leagues and family generational loyalty is a uniqueness I think only the NFL has of the four majors. It was a pretty special league that helped forge new friendships among fans and motivated many men to buy 80-inch televisions for their basements.
But that’s all changed for me…
Kaepernick is a Terrible Spokesman
I’ve watched half an NFL game in total this season. I can no longer bring myself to support the league. And it wasn’t as though I consciously and methodically made the decision to do so. It just came naturally. After Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem — a protest he still demonstrates as his career spirals into mediocrity — and no executive from the league strongly denounced his actions, I was shocked. And then, during an interview with this punk kid who makes nearly $20 million a season, he told reporters he wouldn’t support a flag of a nation that oppressed people of colour… I was disgusted to a point that I had to turn off the television. This clown felt the best way to protest black or Hispanic ‘oppression’ was to kneel during the American national anthem.
That was awful – but one man doesn’t represent the entire organization, right?
Like lemmings, dozens of other players across the league started doing the same disrespectful shit. Kneeling during the anthem, directly pissing on everything their country gave them, to demonstrate how oppressed or mistreated they, or other people of colour, are as they cash monthly million dollar pay cheques.
If you recall, these player protests began shortly after the hellish July night when five Dallas police officers were executed on the city streets while the news channels covered it all. These spoiled spokesmen for the NFL, these players of protest, had no decency to try and bridge build. Instead, they expanded the divide in America and grabbed some cheap attention. All eyes on these knuckleheads. Great branding for the NFL.
I bet half these guys can’t accurately articulate MLK’s platform during the civil rights movement, yet they claim to be activists for racial justice.
The Dangers of Having a Bad Company Spokesperson
I’m not the only football fan who has abandoned the NFL, a league which let the wrong people become its face…
The NFL was once a surefire way to make a killing from advertisements for television stations. No longer. Monday Night Football viewership is down 24% and Sunday Night Football 19%, according to Sports Illustrated.
Why do you think this has happened?
I think it’s because a strong base of support for the NFL comes from military families, or people who have relatives in the military, or simply people who love their country and can’t stand to watch their nation disrespected by spoiled punks.
Kneeling for the national anthem is no different than spitting on the flag. And no matter how great a sports league may be, no one with an ounce of respect for their country wants to support people like that or an organization that doesn’t firmly denounce such behaviour.
Let this be a lesson for entrepreneurs. Be careful who you let speak for your organization. From the secretary to the sales manager, everyone must realize that their actions and words, at least while working, are those of the companies.
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