OK, I know Bob Seger didn’t have Joshua Cribbs or Troy Polamalu in mind when he wrote those lyrics for “You’ll Accomp’ny Me.” But watching the Browns’ punt returner (Cribbs) and the Steelers’ safety (Polamalu) really brings those words to life.
Last week at the NFL owners’ meetings in Palm Springs, Florida, the assembled brass briefly considered quashing that image to improve the league’s overall image. As they considered such ethical issues as illegal taping and whistleblower provisions to protect anyone reporting illegal activity in the NFL, they discussed another weighty issue: hair. That’s right. Taking a page from the NBA’s handbook, the NFL now wants to ramp up its own image.
Never mind dogfighting, gambling, domestic abuse, and illegal drugs — and, granted, Commissioner Goodell has taken a hard stance against wayward players. But hair? Maybe it bothers me just because it is being framed as an image issue and not a safety concern.
That’s where good public relations comes in. Know how to frame your issue to get the most support. I cringe every time I think of one of my favorite players, Cribbs, getting yanked down by his hair by some mean, nasty Steeler (sorry, Bill). I think hair being used as a take-down tool is a big safety concern. So why isn’t it framed like that rather than an image issue?
I personally think Cribbs and Polamalu look kind of cute with all that hair. Yep, I said it. Even a mean, nasty Steeler can look cute (kinda). But I am concerned for their safety and well-being. Herm Edwards, the Chief’s head coach, was at the forefront of this long-hair-image-issue last week. Edwards said he was raised in a military home where rules and image were important. I have no problem with that.
But frame this issue for what it should be — a safety concern. I think the NFL, who delayed action on the issue until meeting with the players’ union later this year, would get more support for that position.