The League

Jason Maloni
Crisis Communications Expert

Jason Maloni

Senior Vice President with
Levick Strategic Communications
and Chair of the firm's Sports & Entertainment Practice.

No Room in Canton for Sanjaya

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Today there is probably no more important buzz word in business than "transparency." Whether you work in Washington or Wall Street, your decisions and actions need to be understandable to all and perceived as fair.

For the 44 sports reporters who make up the Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Selectors, being transparent means offering clear reasoning for your votes for the HoF. With today's sports talk radio, e-mail and blog exchanges, fan interaction is quite easy - even overwhelming.

There is ample room for a Selector to offer their opinions on former players. I've seen well constructed arguments by columnists around the time of the Superbowl when HoF votes are cast and I find it helpful to understand their perspective. If my favorite candidate misses out this year he can always be considered next year. If only that were true of the Academy Awards then The Wrestler might have a shot in 2010.

The process for getting to Canton (my family's hometown, thank you very much) is straightforward. Fans can nominate any player for consideration. The rules get a little complicated there but basically the Board of Selectors decides the inductees from, initially, 25 finalists.

Is the process too secretive? No. The HoF voting makes the Grammys look like a Presidential Election in Iran. Football has a voluminous number of statistics that make it possible to compare players from the modern era and while opinions can differ, a compelling argument can be made based on statistics, playoff victories and Superbowl wins.

Should the public be more involved? No, it is as balanced as one can expect. The HoF is an important part of an athlete's legacy and that decision is best left to 44 sports writers rather than the same millions of voters who let Sanjaya Malakar finish 7th in the 2006 edition of American Idol.

If the public wants an popularity content, then that's what the Pro Bowl is for.

By Jason Maloni  |  August 7, 2009; 7:40 PM ET  | Category:  Fans , NFL , Roger Goodell Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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