We’ve all seen the headlines. And, we now witness increasing speculation from the media and fans on whether the NFL and Baltimore Ravens’ leadership saw or knew about the most recent footage of Ray Rice striking his then-fiancée in an elevator before issuing its lenient two-game suspension. True or not, the appearance of the initial actions of the NFL is that they are severely uninformed or attempting to minimize or cover up this incident in some manner or fashion, neither of which are acceptable. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had enough evidence to suspend Rice immediately, pending criminal adjudication and a diligent internal investigation which surfaced all evidence. Now, the NFL’s loyal stakeholders (and many more) are questioning the integrity and moral backbone of a 94-year-old, $9 billion per year institution that has built its reputation as America’s favorite pastime. Crises cost time, money, customers, and ultimately, careers; and, in this instance, we see all of these elements deteriorating for all parties involved—the NFL, Baltimore Ravens and Ray Rice. Let this be a lesson for all organizations to be more forward-thinking and predictive by establishing tough policies that protect people, secure assets and strengthen brands. As the distinguished Warren Buffett has said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation, and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” Trust is at stake. For more information regarding crisis management, do not hesitate to contact the Fallston Group at 410.420.2001 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.