|Protecting Your Image at the Line of Scrimmage
By: Brian Keller
The young man who, as far as we know, has never been in trouble, took his fiancé, the mother of his child, on a trip to Atlantic City. We would suppose the trip was to have fun and relax for, we suppose, the wealthy young man and woman.
The young man had time off before beginning work and the couple, who had been together since high school, took off for an adult reverie. The young man had had some trouble at work, physically, and was working towards recapturing his skills. By all reports, he was ready to be outstanding again. His employers, the community, and everyone who knew the young man had nothing but praise for him personally and for his work at his job and in the community.
One evening during the sojourn something went wrong. The young man and the young woman got into a horrible altercation caused, we suppose, by alcohol, youth, temper, a feeling of privilege, or a temporary mutual malice that surfaces between people in long-term relationships. Maybe it was something more.
The altercation ended with the young woman, the mother of the young man’s child, being rendered unconscious by (we suppose) the young man. As during the early stages of the aftermath, ominous video footage surfaced showing the young man dragging his unconscious fiancé from, and back into, an elevator while maneuvering her body in a very off-hand manner. It was and is a nasty piece of videotape.
The young man, months after the incident, was indicted by an Atlantic County (New Jersey) jury on one count of aggravated assault; he pleaded not guilty. He entered a pre-trial intervention program upon the completion of which the criminal charges would be dropped.
He married his fiancé. She and he said the right but awkward things whenever they were facing the public. He was suspended from work for, we suppose, a fair term as judged by his employers. We were a little surprised as we, the public, were inundated by extremely disturbing video footage of the young man dragging his unconscious fiancé (now wife) around the floor of a casino (outside an elevator). The world knew that the young man had rendered his fiancé (now wife) unconscious in the elevator. Based partly on the distressing videotape, his charge was aggravated assault. He pled not guilty and accepted a plea bargain (he could have served a lengthy prison term).
We repeat: Two people went into an elevator. One came out of the elevator ambulatory. One was dragged out. One was charged with aggravated assault. We would ask you: what do you suppose happened in that elevator? It was interesting that there was no video camera inside the elevator, or at least no video footage had surfaced. It really didn’t matter as the sight of a nearly comatose woman being dragged around a floor by her fiancé (now husband) is/was pretty condemning and disgusting. We suppose that’s what the young man’s lawyers felt when “the team” accepted a “plea-deal.”
The young man married the young woman and returned to preparing for his job with much cleared from his mind. He had done something completely base and brutal. He was forgiven by his fiancé (now wife), we suppose, and his family and his employers. He was, we suppose, in a program along with his spouse and was helping to raise his young family.
The public and the community took a harder stance and he lost much luster in the community. However, the community was rooting hard for him to succeed in his job. They were betting (some literally) that his comeback would benefit them and their city. His city has an interesting position on shame. The very important people who provided him ancillary income (in the millions of dollars) made no public comment and kept their agreements with him intact. The future was looking brighter.
Months later, as he was getting ready to return from his suspension and was readying for work, videotape from the elevator surfaced. It showed the young man, no supposition here, punching his fiancé (now wife), rendering her unconscious.
His employer was outraged — we think. His employer’s managing body was outraged — we think. The public was completely outraged — we know. The ancillary providers of revenue were outraged — we think. His employer released him from his job and apologized to its constituency, and his employer’s managing body suspended him, stripping him of a way to make a living, indefinitely. The public, still outraged, screamed for “his head.” The entirety of the United States of America’s press had varying opinions and his story hasn’t gone away. It won’t go away until it stops raising ratings, selling papers, magazines, blogs, beers, sodas, soap, cars, cell phones and cell phone services, and products and services in all categories.
Former FBI Director Robert Mueller is now investigating his employers and his employer’s governing body. The young man could face additional charges.
The cause of all this is the mysterious arrival of the new video tape, via a "news" source whose name will never be mentioned here, from the defunct casino where the assault took place (in February of 2014) and its graphic depiction of the punch that rendered the young man’s fiancé (now wife) unconscious.
It seems that videotape of a young man dragging the unconscious, limp body of his spouse around the floor of a casino isn’t enough for the American public, which has no imagination, and needed this tape to get properly piqued. The employer needed to quell the pique and prophylactically fired the young man. The employer’s governing (tax-exempt) body needed to quell the pique of the public as well and suspended the young man indefinitely. The ancillary suppliers of revenue to the young man distanced themselves as well and pointed fingers at the governing body of the employers of the young man.
Isn’t a videotape of a person dragging another, unconscious person disturbing enough? Isn’t an aggravated assault charge enough? Isn’t paying your debt to the state prosecuting you enough? Isn’t an agreed-upon suspension enough? Perhaps the investigation by ex-FBI head Mueller into the — we suppose — lies of the young man’s employer and the head of the employer’s governing body will be enough.
It will probably never be enough, we suppose, as this story is about the NFL. The NFL creates way too much revenue in all facets of advertising, in media buying, production, endorsements, entertainment, licensing, advertising partnerships, naming rights, social media, gambling, advertising licensing, and love from the misguided American public to ever be enough. This is a $10,000,000,000 (tax-exempt) business that’s aiming to become a $25,000,000,00 (tax-exempt) business. ***
Among other things, here’s what the NFL is protecting by “executing” the young man and perhaps (one day) firing its ridiculous commissioner:
1. Sponsorship revenue for the National Football League and its 32 teams totaled $1.07 billion for the 2013 season.
2. Advertisers include Audi, Uniliver, Soda Stream, Anheuser-Busch, Bank of America, Nestles, Beats, General Motors, General Mills, Chobani, Chrysler, Coca Cola, GoDaddy, Hyundai, Honda, H&M, Jaguar, Viacom, PepsiCo, T-Mobile, Toyota, Volkswagen, and more.
3. And yes, there are more licensers and gamblers and naming rights and electronic games and fantasy football leagues and parties and partnerships and more and more that revolve around the NFL sun.
So, you see, if you want to keep your job in the NFL, you can be seen on video tape dragging your fiancé’s (now wife’s) unconscious body around the floor of a casino, get charged with a felony that brings a prison term of anywhere between five years to ten years, and keep your job because a video tape of you dragging a person’s unconscious body around a casino floor is not “brutal” enough for America. And, of course, no one from the NFL or the Baltimore Ravens knew about the just-released tape of the punch (February 15, 20014). We suppose that had the NFL known about this tape they would have acted swiftly to rectify a great wrong just as they have for the plethora of former employees busy committing suicide and getting ALS, Alzheimer’s, and other wonderful residual gifts from their time in the NFL.
The young man’s employers, the Baltimore Ravens, have announced a program that will have fans receive replacement jerseys in exchange for jerseys illustrating his name. Fans will be limited to one new item, the team said. Now this is really great: "The program is limited to officially licensed jerseys, including those made by Nike and previous NFL apparel supplier Reebok.” Now, remember, if you dared to purchase jerseys with the young man's name on the back from a supplier other than Nike or Reebok, you will not be able to switch. So, while the Ravens vilify this ex-employee and strike him from their team memory and the "fans" do the same, they are also protecting Nike and Reebok. It all makes good sense to us.
The young man can pay his debt as agreed but can't play. But, he can watch a number of felons play NFL football every Sunday from his living room. His ex-employers and their governing body will sniff the fall air live, on the field, and in prime time while America buys the products and licenses they push along with a violent game. Remember the NFL and their commisioner acted heroically by exposing that second videotape immediately without regard to themselves.
We have not written the name of the young man, as we are sure you know it. Now, let’s talk disturbing videotape. What are the names of the two young men beheaded by ISIS? Where’s the outrage there? Oh, never mind. It's football season in America.
If all is fair (and it's not) many others involved with the NFL will be watching the NFL on couches, in living rooms, all across this great land of ours.
**** According to league spokesman Brian McCarthy, the NFL is organized as a trade or industry association that is exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code, not Section 501(c)(3).
Brian Keller is the Creative Director at teeny agency in Baltimore. He graduated from the University of Maryland (English), went to grad school at NYU (Cinema Studies), & attends University of Baltimore School of Law.
Brian's been working primarily in the digital space for years but enjoys all communications avenues.
He has built the creative departments at two agencies.
He likes skateboarding with his son. He also falls off his skateboard and amuses his son. When not amusing his son or riding bikes or playing basketball or working he writes for Beyond Madison Avenue & that's why Beyond Madison Avenue appears twice in this sentence.
Find him online here and at www.teenyagency.com.