Fans would like to keep politics out of football. The league office, however, loves to keep politics in football, in one very specific way.
The promotion of Jocelyn Moore to the position of executive V.P. of communications and public affairs represents the latest effort by the league to utilize the services of someone with extensive communications experience in politics. Which means that political strategizing will continue to be a major part of what the NFL does, when it comes to shaping and sending its messages to the media and, via the media, to its fans and sponsors.
“Jocelyn brings a perspective and passion for communicating to our fans and other stakeholders that will strengthen our voice and put the focus on our game,” NFL COO Maryann Turcke said in the press release announcing the promotion. The internal memo regarding the hire includes the word “back” before “on our game,” which underscores Moore’s obvious mandate: To get the media and the fans to quit thinking and talking about things other than “the game.” Things like the anthem issue.
And so it will be someone with a background in politics who will try to eradicate politics from football. It won’t be easy, given the zeal with which one specific politician keeps foisting politics onto football.
Making Moore’s job even harder will be the NFL’s affinity for unforced errors, including most recently the widely-criticized decision not to let Laurent Duvernay-Tardif affix “M.D.” to his jersey and the if-it-ain’t-fixed-break-it anthem policy. If Moore’s fingerprints appear on either of those blunder, it may not be all that long before yet another former political operative is operating as the NFL’s executive V.P. of communications and public affairs.