The Friday afternoon news dump is one of the oldest pages in the politics and public relations playbook: There’s a long-held belief that on weekends, people don’t consume much news, so if you want to put bad news out, you put it out on Friday afternoon, when few people are paying attention.
But even better than the Friday afternoon news dump is the pre-holiday news dump: Holidays are the days when Americans really don’t feel like checking the news. And the NFL took advantage of that on the third of July.
As Americans started leaving their offices for an Independence Day off, the NFL dumped plenty of news about player suspensions. Reuben Foster‘s suspension for gun and marijuana offenses was announced around 3 p.m. Jamon Brown‘s two-game suspension was announced half an hour later. And Aaron Jones‘ suspension was announced half an hour after that. That evening, word leaked that Julian Edelman had lost the appeal of his four-game suspension.
The NFL has a long history of employing the Friday afternoon news dump, or the pre-holiday news dump. But it’s worth wondering whether that tactic still works: The news dump dates back to the days when people got their news from the morning paper, and Saturday was the day when newspaper circulation was the lowest. In today’s media environment, there’s just no way to bury any kind of news. The NFL can try, but it can’t bury news anymore.