The National Football League's (NFL, the league) 2014 domestic violence crisis involving Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson is a case that prompted individuals--from news analysts to current and former NFL players to average citizens who were fans and non-fans of the league--to express their concerns online regarding the NFL's domestic violence policies. Using Social Identity Theory, Attachment Theory, and Social Marketing Theory as the theoretical foundation, this project conducted a thematic-content analysis of 300 social media posts and comments on online news reports to determine (a) what public perception of the NFL was in regard to its 2014 domestic scandal was; (b) what the public wanted the league to do to effectively address domestic violence in their organization; and (c) how public response to the crisis impacted the NFL's corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts regarding domestic violence. Respondents reported a perception that the NFL was apathetic toward the seriousness of domestic violence as well as a desire for the league to institute a policy in the first offense and are banned from the NFL for the second offense. Responding to the public outcry, the NFL executed organizational-level changes via improved corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts regarding the league's domestic violence policy. The campaign component of this project aimed to reframe the NFL's reputation in relation to domestic violence from being viewed as an organization solely focused on generating profits to an organization that considers its constituents' concerns when making organizational decisions. The ads with a campaign theme of #OnTheClock acknowledged the NFL's mis-steps regarding domestic violence and outlined the league's efforts to address domestic violence while encouraging viewers to follow the NFL's ongoing work to combat domestic violence.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (MA) -- Communication; Family violence; National Football League -- Public opinion

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Seaver College



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Rosenkrans, Ginger