It didn’t take a long listen to owners leaving yesterday’s league meeting in Charlotte to realize that a major PR push was in effect, and that someone — cough, Joe Lockhart, cough — seems to have leaned on all NFL personnel to push the “Mom” button as often as possible while talking about player safety.
And we’re already seeing that message spread out from the member clubs.
The Cardinals sent out a press release today advertising a “Football Skills and Education Camp” this weekend at University of Phoenix Stadium. As part of the camp, they’re hosting a “Mom’s Football Safety Clinic” aimed at “mothers of the high school football players participating at the camp.” The Cardinals are also trotting out Dr. Javier Cardenas, a neurologist at Barrow Neurological Institute to speak to the football camp and the mom’s clinic about concussions. It’s not the first such event they’ve held, but it’s hard not to see the timing.
Of course, it’s all a good and noble effort, steps taken in good faith to make sure all those connected with this great and glorious game know how safe it is. And Bills General Manager Doug Whaley decided after a good night’s sleep that he didn’t really mean it yesterday when he said football wasn’t a game meant to be played by humans.
Again, this is the tip of the spear, the beginning of a major public relations effort on the part of the NFL, which isn’t even ashamed to admit it.
In fact, Jets owner Woody Johnson summed up their plan yesterday better than we ever could.
“Things have a way of changing when they go through other people’s mouths,” Johnson said. “We have to do a better job of explaining ourselves — this is what we’re doing, this is our intent and to convince people we’re honest in what we’re trying to do and that we have integrity. . . .
“The press try to spin one way or the other. Trying to get the real story out without spin is difficult.”
So obviously, they’re going to take up that challenge on their own. Buckle up, moms, the NFL is coming for you.