Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Thinking Beyond PR Moves

At this point, I'm not surprised when someone who's made lots of money from professional sports is in the news for all the wrong reasons. It's not just NFL players - after the "scandals" surrounding Donald Sterling, Stephen A. Smith, and Semyon Varlamov, we'd all be incredibly short-sighted to think that way. However, I'm always amazed at the way people react to such occurrences. Ray Rice's firing yesterday was another such event.

This isn't something that just happened recently - the incident occurred months ago, and a lot of people were upset about it, and wanted to see Rice punished more severely. It was talked about during the offseason when the NFL started to do damage control. This public anger really only hit critical mass when a tape was leaked, and then suddenly everyone knew just how wrong it was, and got up in arms about how badly the Baltimore Ravens needed to terminate his contract. Which they did, in what a lot of people called a PR move.

"They didn't fire him because it was the right thing to do," came the cry from all corners of the Internet. "They fired him because he was damaging their brand!" Thank you, Captain Obvious. Anyone who knows that the events caught on tape didn't happen last week knows that the Ravens took an awfully long time to fire someone who beat the woman he claimed to love. Ray Rice was fired because the general public - everyone, even people who don't want football - was shocked and offended.

Why did it take us so long to become so shocked? Why did we have to wait until TMZ released video evidence of Rice punching his fiancée to realize that he had done something wrong? If there had been no video evidence, there is at least a slim chance that Ray Rice would not have been fired at all. And that, to me, is the scariest part of all this.

It's time for us all to stop waiting until it's too late to speak up or make a real difference.

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