UH Marketing Expert Says Damage to NFL’s Reputation “May Be Hard to Get Away From”

Roger GoodellIf NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell hoped Friday’s press conference would ease the damage to the league’s reputation, a University of Houston marketing professor suggested otherwise.

“I don’t think they’re going to get away from it anytime soon,” Partha Krishnamurthy said. More damaging than the reports of domestic violence involving Baltimore Raven Ray Rice – and now, child abuse charges against Adrian Peterson and additional domestic violence charges against several other players – was the way the league has handled the accusations, he said.

“The cover up is bigger than the crime,” Krishnamurthy said.

Krishnamurthy also pointed to pay disparities between multimillionaire athletes and Goodell, who earns a reported $44 million a year, and team cheerleaders, whose pay varies but can be as low as minimum wage.

“That’s a toxic combination,” he said.

The latest controversy also has brought public attention to the fact that the NFL has nonprofit status, although Krishnamurthy said that is true only for the central NFL office – funded by player fines, penalties and the like – and not the teams themselves, which do pay taxes.

Still, he said, that nonprofit status “might rub people the wrong way.” The NFL has 501 C6 nonprofit status, rather than the more familiar 501 C3 status granted to churches and more traditional nonprofits.

Krishnamurthy is available to talk with members of the media about the lasting impact of the latest scandals on the NFL brand. To schedule an interview, contact Jeannie Kever at 713-743-0778 or jekever@uh.edu, or Danielle Ponder at 713-743-4334 or dnponder@bauer.uh.edu.