(2015 Top Post) The Ray Rice Scandal: A Crisis Communications Analysis


Editor’s Note: The Ray Rice Scandal was handled poorly on all fronts: from the way the team reacted and blamed the victim, to the seemingly soft punishment by the NFL to Ray Rice himself briefly apologizing then quickly moving on. Not only is his image inevitably tarnished, but the NFL, Team and even “supporters” will be left to pick up the pieces. 

 Now that a judge has overturned the NFL’s decision to ban Ray Rice from playing, the NFL and it’s teams are facing new challenges.  Do teams look past his past and sign him based on his talent?  Are they ready to deal with the negative press?

 With this page we will dig deeper into the issues that now arise from the most recent developments. You are invited to contribute your comments and opinions.  


David E. Johnson, CEO of Strategic Vision, LLCimages

Ray Rice: A Public Relations Crisis for the NFL – PART I

By David E. Johnson, CEO, Strategic Vision, LLC

Hoping to defuse a growing public relations crisis, the Baltimore Ravens announced that the team was terminating the contract of three-time all-Pro running back, Ray Rice and the NFL announced that it was suspending him indefinitely following the release of a video showing him punching his then fiancée, now wife, Janay in February.  While this is both the right thing to do and proper way to handle a public relations crisis of such magnitude, it won’t be enough for the NFL or the Ravens.  Click here to read full post.


psl ravensSaving Face — Is it Worth the Disgrace?

By Jenna Gregory-Sperry and Korenna Wilson, Epic PR Group

National Football League’s mismanagement of the Ray Rice assault has been dominating the headlines for months. Most recently, after the release of a second video of the incident from inside the elevator, questions about how information was gathered and obtained and about how punishments were determined is accompanying speculation of exactly when the NFL and the Baltimore Ravens knew of the second video and its contents.  Click here to read the full post.


Sarah-Chollar-headshotApple vs. the NFL: Who’s Winning the Media Coverage?

By Sarah Chollar, PR Coordinator, M/C/C

Apple vs. the NFL for most coverage secured in a short amount of time is an interesting case. On one hand, there is a technology giant proactively and strategically announcing new products at its live event. On the other hand is an overpaid sports giant that is reactively responding to coverage for its mishandling of a domestic dispute case.   Click here to read the full post.



Ronn-Torossian-NFLThe Next Steps in Reputation Management for the NFL after the Ray Rice Crisis

By Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5W PR

If you need an example of how to badly manage a brand crisis, look no further than the NFL. The horrific video of Ravens running back Ray Rice abusing his fiancée in an Atlantic City casino elevator has become an unprecedented scandal. There is mounting pressure for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to resign.  Click here to read the full post.


nfl-logoRay Rice: A Public Relations Crisis for the NFL – PART II

By David E. Johnson, CEO, Strategic Vision, LLC

The start of the NFL season has been overshadowed by the never-ending Ray Rice saga and the NFL’s public relations handling of the crisis or rather the lack of crisis management it has shown.  Associated Press reported that a law enforcement officer contacted the NFL and stated that the NFL had received the video of Ray Rice punching his then fiancée and now wife, Janay in April and someone at the NFL left a recorded message acknowledging the video.



It’s Time for EVERYONE involved in Ray Rice Debacle to tell the Whole Truth, Starting with NFL Commish Roger Goodell

TheNewRayRiceWhat is Crisis Communications?

Expect The Unexpected

Depending on whom you speak to, crisis communications has different meanings. But no one would disagree that the aim is to mitigate damage to a company’s or a personal reputation by third party sources. Responsibility for this task varies considerably. It can be internal, external, or both. Regardless of where the function resides, the task remains the same.

Events involving disruption to the norm are not limited to corporations and other organizations. Individuals can also find themselves embroiled in controversy because of inappropriate behavior or comments. Examples include Martha Stewart (lying to investigators about the sale of stock), and Paula Dean and Donald Sterling for racist comments. All three cases not only saw individual reputations tarnished, but their respective businesses suffer.

Unlike risk management, which involves planning for events that might occur in the future, crisis management involves reacting to an event once it has occurred. For example, BP may have had a plan in place to deal with the possibility of an oil spill, but when the disaster actually occurred in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, the magnitude of the spill, the backlash of public opinion and the cost of cleanup varied greatly and may of exceed expectations.

Landmark crisis communication case studies include:

The Tylenol-Tampering Crisis – 1982 & 1986

The Exxon-Valdez-Oil Spill Crisis — 1989

The Bridgestone/Firestone & Ford-Tire Crisis – 1990s 

The McDonald’s-Hot Coffee Crisis — 1992

The Pepsi-Syringe Crisis — 1993

The Dominos-YouTube Crisis — 2009

The BP-Gulf Oil Spill— 2010

Crisis communication tactics vary greatly, as do opinions about who should be responsible for their implementation. It is sometimes considered a sub-specialty of the public relations profession; others consider it a stand-alone specialty. Whatever the answer, the objectives are clear: to protect and defend an individual, company, or organization facing a public challenge to its reputation.

Since the inception of commPRO.biz in 2010 we have been engaging our community of communication and marketing professionals in a multitude of conversations around this topic.


The Most Recent Developments..

Ray Rice’s Apology Is Still Missing an Explanation

Ray Rice Wants a Second Chance, Worries His Daughter Rayven Will Google Him One Day: “Horribly Sorry”

Unsigned Ray Rice Seeks ‘Second Chance’ From NFL Team

The NFL Had No Clue How to Handle Ray Rice’s Domestic Violence Case
Ray Rice’s wife: Husband Told Truth, Denies NFL’s ‘Ambiguous’ Claim


About Ray Rice…

Ray Rice Elevator Knockout

Ray Rice Wasn’t Fired Because He Hit His Wife, He Was Fired Because He Became A PR Nightmare

President Obama slams NFL star Ray Rice, saying ‘hitting a woman is not something a real man does’

Ray Rice Suspended: Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh Says New Video ‘Changed Things’

Time To Fight Back Against Ray Rice, Ravens Fans

Ray Rice Prosecutors Defend No-Jail Deal Despite Video

Did Ray Rice lie to Roger Goodell?

About the NFL and the Ravens…

Report: Rice Video Sent To NFL Exec In April

Ray Rice finally must answer for his actions; when will NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

The NFL Media Failed the Public on the Ray Rice Story

Ravens Finally Stop Blaming Ray Rice’s Victim

Ray Rice Crisis Communications Fiasco for the NFL

The NFL Knew What Ray Rice Did In That Elevator — We All Did

No One Looks as Horrible as Ray Rice, but NFL, Ravens Sure Did Try

Someone Is Lying About Whether The NFL Saw The Ray Rice Tape

Ray Rice Made Himself Unwatchable, the One Sin the NFL Can’t Forgive

Financial Ramifications of Ravens Terminating Ray Rice’s Contract

NFL policy change more about PR than conscience

Whose Idiotic Ray Rice Comments Look Especially Awful Today?


The little good that could come out of this is the now public discussion on domestic violence…

Ray Rice Scandal: Changing the Conversation about Domestic Violence, One Tweet at a Time

Ray Rice Video Prompts Stories of #WhyIStayed, #WhyILeft

After Ray Rice Video, Women Explain #WhyIStayed

Ray Rice’s Attack Video Has Inspired Twitter Users To Share Their Own Stories Of Domestic Violence

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