P.R. chief Paul Hicks leaves the NFL

The NFL has had a rough year when it comes to public relations. And now a major change is coming to the NFL’s public relations department.

Via Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal, executive V.P. of communications and public affairs Paul Hicks is leaving the NFL. He’ll join the Glover Park Group, a firm that provides P.R. advice to the NFL. It’s not known whether Hicks will be working directly with the league.

It’s also unclear whether Hicks chose to leave, was nudged, or feared that a nudge was coming. Some believe that the ultimate fallout of #DeflateGate won’t be a new Commissioner but a new structure beneath him — a process that apparently commenced with the hiring of Tod Leiweke to serve as the NFL’s Chief Operating Officer, a position that had been vacant since Roger Goodell had been promoted from COO to Commissioner.

As one source explained it after Leiweke arrived, the goal will be to cut down on the number of people who directly report to Goodell. Also, Leiweke will assist with day-to-day management and coordination between departments while serving as the conduit between Goodell and those departments.

In many respects, Hicks and general counsel Jeff Pash served previously as the conduit between Commissioner and the various departments he supervised. With another layer added between Hicks and Goodell, it’s not surprising that Hicks would decide to move on voluntarily — especially if he sensed that an involuntary parting was inevitable.

UPDATE 11:20 a.m. ET: Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Hicks will continue to contribute to NFL projects as part of Glover Park Group’s New York office. Leiweke will lead the search for an internal replacement.

47 responses to “P.R. chief Paul Hicks leaves the NFL

  1. Oh that dumpster fire…. Oh no, that played no part in my decision. Who? Kensil, never heard of him.

  2. Just another league scumbag. Good riddance the only question is how much scummier the new guy will be. It seems inevitable under Goodell that any change is for the worse.

  3. He got out before the finger pointing starts ….

    Who’ll take the fall for the #Deflategate fiasco, will it be;

    * Kensil
    * Pash
    * Goodell
    * Vincent
    * all the above

    My guess will be Kensil.

    Just saying

  4. So many layers of beaurocracy that nobody feels like they have to make a decision about anything.
    Just stay out of it and let somebody else deal with it.
    That is, until things get so out of control stupid that they are forced to mobilize.
    That culture of irresponsibility starts and and ends at the top with Goodell and Jeff Pash.

  5. There you go Roger, shoot the messenger. It’s what any self respecting despot would do. Brilliant.

  6. I’m sure the job pays great but can’t imagine the frustration of a nearly daily scandal all caused by Goodell making things up as he goes along and just expecting great PR to ensue.

  7. Quitting when the going gets tough. Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Fight the good fight for King Roger!

  8. .
    Hicks 3 Major Accomplishments

    1. Left false info on the NFL website for 64 days.

    2. Clumsily leaked cell phone story to Stephen A Smith.

    3. Ham handedly placed a litany of false stories about how Brady has been kowtowing to his master, Goodell, to reduce his bogus suspension.

    Don’t let the door hit you , Mr Psuedojournalist

  9. Whoever is doing PR for the NFL is clearly good at their job. Although it must be almost possible to do good PR for the trainwrecks and stupid people the NFL has in leadership positions.

  10. So that’s the problem, just too many people Goodell is in charge of. Like my boss who’s so busy with emails she can’t answer any of them

  11. @whatevnfl–Right on. There has to be work that is less thankless than being a pincushion for Roger Goodell and those who are throwing stuff his way.

  12. I’m surprised this guy could find another job in his field. His tenure at the NFL was marked by one PR disaster after another which all seemed to get worse as time wore on.

  13. grogantomorgan says:
    Sep 1, 2015 11:06 AM

    He got out before the finger pointing starts ….

    Who’ll take the fall for the #Deflategate fiasco, will it be;
    Who’ll take the fall?
    Well it’s the guy’s fault who isn’t here anymore.
    It happens all the time in business. It’s happening somewhere right now and will happen somewhere else in a meeting scheduled after lunch.

  14. The owners who support Goodell (Robert Kraft was one of them) are to blame for the mess and not some PR guy. These are the people who urged the NFL not to settle with Brady and drag this thing out from two weeks before the Super Bowl possibly into 2016 when it goes to Appeals. Is this any way to run a sports league?

  15. For those of you who thumbed down hoc2000, you need to watch National Lampoon’s “Animal House”. It’s sarcasm folks. It’s seriously good, seriously sharp witted, seriously clever, dripping wet… sarcasm.

  16. I hope this is a first in a long line of exits from league office. I’ll send them the packing boxes if it helps.

  17. The COO position was vacant when Goodell was in it, too. Since the commissioners position is vacant figuratively, hopefully it will be literally vacant very soon. #firegoodellpashkensilvincentnash

  18. Goodell must be taking advise from Cris Carter. This guy must be Goodell’s “fall guy”. Probably responsible for the false press releases on Deflategate?!

  19. Is this a hush job? It’s uncanny that he got transferred or rather secure a position in a firm doing PR service to the NFL. Kensil might find his next job grooming Wells mustache.

  20. I just watched the Frontline report about concussions in the NFL, and the NFL apparently lies about everything. The NFL did everything in it’s power to dissuade the notion that concussions were caused by playing football. The said the BU center for CTE was their preferred brain bank for former NFL players to have their brains examined after death, then in the middle of the piece Junior Seau’s kid is talking about how the NFL trash talked Dr.’s and the center. When the NFL first announced the settlement with former players guess who was walking along in the background behind goodell, TED WELLS!!!! The NFL cannot tell the truth about any issue. It’s time the anti-trust exemption is taken away from this corrupt organization.

  21. Good move – when the Commissioner is caught lying consistently – including under oath to Judge Barbara Jones when Goodell insisted he had no idea Ray Rice beat his wife unconscious, there’s no amount of spin that can cover that up

    One wonders how much input Hicks had into creating this Faux Scandal in the first place. As Goodell himself is the former Jets PR staffer, I can’t help but think Goodell himself was behind this – needing a story where Goodell is the good guy against Brady rather than the Bad Guy in the Ray Rice Videogate affair

    If I have a PR client who is a habitual proven liar, I drop that client. It doesn’t matter how much they pay

    Hicks has no credibility if the Owners and Commissioner have no integrity or credibility

    Perhaps his leaving shows he in fact DOES have some integrity – but his credibility is forever shot.

  22. Good idea, let’s reduce the number of people that Kim Jong Goodell listens to. Makes perfect sense, since he has such keen political instincts.

  23. He also had a ton of emails leaked with respect to the ‘concussion’ film when Sony had their emails released.

  24. This isn’t about Hicks but about Tod Leiweke who was just named COO a little over a month ago. IMO Leiweke is being groomed to take over the Comish position in 2016. Owners will let Goodell take the hit for the Concussion movie and then move on to Leiweke for a fresh start. You have to believe that even the owners can’t stand much more of Goodells’ incompetence and drama.

  25. Read these two paragraphs from an article in Vox about the new movie “Concussion” coming out in December (or go to the NYT to read about the Sony execs quivering in fear while producing the movie because they didn’t want to anger the NFL) and tell me the NFL isn’t a corrupt, immoral, possibly evil organization. It pains me to say that as a long-time NFL fan and someone who has experienced so much joy through the sport of football.

    “The league established a committee to examine the long­-term effects of concussions on players’ health, but it released findings that were deeply inconsistent with those of other neurologists. Among other things, the committee called concussions “minor injuries,” told players there was no problem with a concussed player returning to a game, and declared there were no long-­term health issues associated with the injuries. Independent researchers sharply criticized these statements.

    Omalu expected the NFL to be alarmed at his findings, but as the Concussion trailer depicts, league staff instead tried to discredit him, accusing him of fraud. “They went to the press. They insinuated I was not practicing medicine; I was practicing voodoo,” Omalu later told Frontline. He was barred from league meetings on football and the brain, along with other doctors who later worked on CTE.”

    They talk about integrity like it’s the Holy Grail and demonize one of their best spokesmen and players of all time to distract us all from the truth. The tactics used against Omalu are eerily similar to those used against Brady: Find some experts to publish a report that supports your position, use the media to discredit real accomplishments and tarnish the reputation of someone who doesn’t fall in line. You think they would’ve updated their playbook since 2002, but I guess not.

  26. @Venecol As much as I want to believe owners are fed up with the constant drama negatively impacting NFL’s image, I doubt they’ll drop Goodell. That would mean admitting that all this time, him being the commish amid all the controversies has been solely about the money, and they can’t have that, can they?

  27. It’s unconscionable to use the words “Goodell” and “Integrity” in the same sentence, unless it’s to define antonyms. Clearly the two are world’s apart.

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