Situational Crisis Communication Theory and the National Football League: A Case Study of the NFL’s Response Strategies to Its Concussion Crisis

in International Journal of Sport Communication
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  • 1 University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada
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This case study analyzes the crisis response strategies used by the National Football League (NFL) in its external communications to address the concussion crisis spanning 2015–2020. The analysis focuses on describing the crisis communication strategies and tactics used by the league. Situational crisis communication theory provides the theoretical framework for analyzing the NFL’s crisis response strategies. A qualitative thematic analysis was conducted of 25 publications published by the NFL on nflcommunications.com, with findings indicating that the NFL focused on the primary crisis strategies of rebuilding and diminishing while employing tactics such as organizational change and shared responsibility. The findings revealed in this case study also highlight a discrepancy between the theoretical ground of situational crisis communication theory and the application of crisis response strategies in a real-life organizational crisis facing a professional sports league.

Castonguay https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0661-0240

Lowes (mlowes@uOttawa.ca) is corresponding author.

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