NFL Needs to Step Up Crisis PR for Brand Damage from Ray Rice Domestic Violence, PR Expert Dobson Says in Listing 3 Key Crisis PR Tips

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NFL Joins VA & BP Showing Crisis PR Lapses Leading to Public Outcry for Action, says Dobson

To best handle a crisis, extensive preparation is vital for prompt, effective action to move key messages and show leadership, says Dobson.

Effective Crisis PR is vital to stem the continued hits that the National Football League brand is taking with criticism mounting about its handling of its penalty to former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for a domestic violence incident last February, announced PR expert Brian Dobson of A video released by TMZ this week put a new spotlight on the incident.

“Preparation is vital for prompt, effective action to move key messages and show leadership, but the NFL seemed ill-prepared and slow to safeguard brand values in the incident involving Rice,” said Dobson. This week the TMZ gossip website posted video showing Rice punch his wife, who at that time was his fiancé, before dragging her unconscious from an Atlantic City hotel elevator.

Dobson said, “The NFL and Ravens lost goodwill due to inadequate response as the League in giving Rice a lenient two-game suspension that the NFL this week increased to an indefinite suspension of Rice, who the Ravens then fired due to public outcry. Ravens’ owner Steve Bisciotti this week said, “We should have pursued our own investigation more vigorously. We didn’t and we were wrong.”

Dobson laid out three major steps organizations should take in preparing for crisis:
1. React instantly to be ahead of news developments, not just react to them.
2. Organizations must take a hard look to uncover predictable problems, prepare responses and be ready to enact corrective actions.
3. Provide facts and avoid any perception of cover-up.

Crisis PR expert Dobson, a former reporter for Dow Jones, publisher of the Wall Street Journal, and global newswire Reuters, explained “The critical issue of Domestic Violence strikes at the hearts of Americans as being both criminal and unmanly so there is very little tolerance for what people perceive as the NFL football minimizing up such behavior.”

Dobson said, “NFL team owners face a decision whether to replace Commissioner Roger Goodell. In recent crises, BP replaced CEO Tony Haywood when he seemed glib handling news about its Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Similarly, Veterans Administration Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned amid public outrage about inaction to correct problems including some veteran dying while waiting months for care at VA facilities,” said Dobson.

Dobson, who founded Dobson Communications online at, previously headed PR at a top Fortune company then called American Brands, with products from tobacco and insurance to food and alcohol, and has handled crises for clients of

Based in Ridgefield, Connecticut, and online at, Dobson Communications is a full service PR agency with a JHD-Dobson video unit, and has managed a variety of brand building PR campaigns in several sectors, and has handled PR in major crises from tampering to plant closings and executive scandal to press about major law suits for companies including ranging from a Japanese pharmaceutical company and Japan’s lead supplier of blood to for many brands in the USA. For information contact Barbara Green at 203-894-9240 or BD(at)DobsonPR(dot)com.

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