What Baseball Can Learn from Football

How do MLB and the NFL handle their public relations differently? Let’s see…. According to Jason Stark, an All-Star baseball player thought that the MLBPA could get 1,100 votes for a one-year suspension – and possibly more – for a first time steroid offender. However, in a show of unity, MLB and the leadership of the MLBPA have presented a united front, promoting a policy that is weak by almost every measure imaginable. This “one voice,” which has been all-too-rare in baseball’s recent history has brought together two groups that often find themselves at odds: Democrats and Republicans. So despite the overwhelming majority of players’ wanting a more stringent policy AND the threat of further government intervention AND the clamor of fans, baseball continues to fight what appears inevitable.

On the other hand, the NFL has, for many years, enforced a drug policy that is substantially more rigid than the one that was just approved by MLB. It’s by no means a panacea, but what’s instructive (and where baseball can really learn something) is how football deals with the exposure of holes in its program. Upon finding out that several Carolina Panthers players obtained (and presumably) used steroids, the NFL almost immediately announced that they were going to tighten their drug program. Furthermore, they suggested that the decision to enhance the policy were not tied to Panthers investigation, but to the stiffening Olympic standards.

Baseball’s decision to antagonize Congress, alienate many of their players, and leave the fans wondering who is/isn’t clean makes little sense. Here’s hoping MLB’s decision makers tune into the NFL and learn the art of PR.

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