Ray Rice Gives Voice to Women

Ray Rice video increases domestic violence awareness, not donations.

In February 2014, Baltimore Ravens running back, Ray Rice, punched and dragged his wife, Janay Palmer, out of an elevator that was later shown on a leaked video. only after this video was shown, did the NFL suspend Rice indefinitely. This was one of the many mistakes the NFL made during the crisis of Ray Rice. Originally, Rice was benched for two games with the coach’s knowledge of Rice committing domestic violence. When the video was leaked, this was Coach John Harbaugh’s only explanation:

“It was something we saw for the first time today, all of us. It changed things, of course. It made things a little bit different,” Harbaugh said.

If by “making things a little different,” he meant that this video puts your organization through the eyes of every angry woman in America, then yes, the video did make things different. In every crisis situation, it is never recommended to wait to act on a crisis until it has become mass public knowledge. It seems that this was taken into account a month later when Adrian Peterson also found himself in a similar dilemma.

A tip for crisis communication: STAY ON TOP OF YOUR GAME…. literally. Communicating with the media consecutively is key. The NFL Player’s Union as well as Rice’s agent chose to duck down and not immediately respond to CNN’s inquiries. Saying “no comment,” none the less not saying anything at all, is a big no-no in crisis communication. You appear to be hiding information or to be insincere which decreases your credibility and appearance of honesty.

After the video was leaked, a few domestic violence shelters in Texas, were flooded with phone calls of women reaching out for help. It is always a good thing to increases awareness about an issue, but not when the means to support the issue aren’t provided. Due to the influx of calls, shelters were running out of money to support these women, but weren’t receiving any donations. A domestic violence foundation, Joyful Heart Foundation, appears to have a handle on the solution to lack of donations. A number of commercials have been produced featuring celebrities and even NFL players with the message of ending domestic violence. Their message: “No More.”


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