Washington cheerleaders story gets coverage on Today, GMA

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May 3, 2018 1:53 pm Published by

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The NFL has kept a low profile in the aftermath of Wednesday’s report from the New York Times regarding a Costa Rican excursion gone extremely bizarre for Washington’s cheerleaders in 2013. The NFL may not be able to keep a low profile much longer.

The story is getting noticed. Via SportsBusiness Daily, both NBC’s Today and ABC’s Good Morning America covered it on Thursday. ABC’s George Stephanopoulos called the allegations “blockbusters.”

Mainstream, early-morning news coverage has become the unofficiallitmus test for whether an NFL controversy will go away quickly and quietly or whether it will have staying power. This one isn’t going to be regarded as an aberration or a blip on the radar screen. And as it gets more attention, more cheerleaders who have experienced inappropriate behavior with NFL teams or elsewhere will feel empowered to speak out.

Of course, certain inauthentic charlatans hoping to cater to a certain mindset will argue loudly that the Times and/or others in the media hope to eventually end cheerleading. This predictable effort to preach to a very specific choir overlooks the basic reality that, if misconduct or abuse is happening, it needs to be identified and rectified.

The NFL has not yet responded to an email sent Wednesday by PFT regarding whether the Personal Conduct Policy applies to any of the allegations contained in the story published by the Times. That’s not surprising; one way to keep a story from becoming a story is to not acknowledge the story.

Now that it’s a story, however, the NFL can’t afford to sit back and let others control the narrative. The NFL also can’t afford to create a perception that players who potentially engage in improper behavior are treated one way, and that teams/owners who engage in improper behavior are treated another way.

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