The NFL announced today that the league will implement a training program for all 32 teams on proper conduct in the workplace in response to the controversy over the Jets’ actions toward a female reporter’s presence at practice.
“In reviewing the incident of Saturday, September 11 involving TV Azteca reporter Ines Sainz during the Jets’ practice and open locker-room time for the media, the NFL interviewed 17 individuals that were present, including Ms. Sainz,” the league said in its announcement. “Commissioner Goodell determined that while there was unprofessional conduct, [Jets owner] Woody Johnson and his staff acted promptly to correct the situation, including a personal apology to Ms. Sainz and arranging a professional education session for the Jets on workplace conduct.”
It’s no surprise that the league chose Friday evening to make this announcement. As every public relations professional knows, Friday evening is the best time to make an announcement when you know you need to make an announcement but wish the subject you were making the announcement about would just disappear.
But as to the substance of the announcement, the league never specified which individuals were responsible for the “unprofessional conduct.” And the announcement said “that the atmosphere was not hostile, that no obscene or lewd comments or gestures were made and that nobody had physical contact with Sainz.”
Johnson said in a separate statement that he supports the NFL’s actions.
“We’ve learned from what happened last Saturday, and have reaffirmed our commitment to treat all members of the media with professionalism and respect,” Johnson said. “The commissioner has developed a constructive approach that emphasizes education and awareness. I believe what emerges will improve the working relationship between all media and the NFL.”
And with that, both Goodell and Johnson will hope this issue quietly goes away.