Module/Week 7: Case Study 6 Green Bay Packers
Each Case Study assignment is designed to help the student make application of course content to a real world situation. Read the assigned case study and connect the key issues in the case to assigned readings and presentations. Respond to the questions with direct, thorough responses.
Each case study assignment should include the following:
· Title Page in APA format
· Introduction to the case summarizing the situation
· Questions converted to sub-headings – responses to each question
· Strong conclusion that summarizes the ideas
· APA Style Reference page (as needed)
Submit each Case Study by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Monday of the assigned module/week, except for Case Study 7, which is due by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Friday of Module/Week 8.
Green Bay Packers Case Study
The Green Bay Packers (www.packers.com) have won thirteen National Football League Championships—more than any other team in the history of the NFL. The Packers won their first NFL Championship in 1929 and their most recent in 2010 (having won Super Bowl XLV). Green Bay also won the first two Super Bowls in 1966 and 1967 under legendary coach Vince Lombardi. Lombardi coached the Packers (1959–67) to five NFL Championships in seven years (1961–62 and 1965–67). His teams set the standard for football excellence, not only for the Green Bay Packers but for the entire NFL.
However, after Lombardi’s retirement from the Green Bay Packers in 1968, the Packers began a perennial losing streak. The word was out around the league—the Packers were a relic, and their fans lived in the past. Adults and kids wore Packer jerseys with No. 15 (Bart Starr) and No. 66 (Ray Nitscke), players of the Lombardi era, instead of those of current players. Other teams would threaten to ship their players to the Packers if they didn’t perform well. No one wanted to come to Green Bay. This was in stark contrast to the glory years of the 1960s in Green Bay, when it was known as “Title Town, USA.”
Bob Harlan, the Packers president, had had enough and decided it was time to make some changes. In 1991 he hired Ron Wolfe as executive vice president and general manager; Wolfe in turn hired Mike Holmgren as the Packers’ head coach in 1992. While the Packers had several problems, the cold weather being one, a major issue was that of diversity. Black players did not want to come to Green Bay. Wolfe and Holmgren understood that the black population in Green Bay was small, but they also realized that other black players in the past had enjoyed great careers with the Packers.
Their first order of business was to recruit a high-profile black player to the Green Bay Packers. The Packers accomplished this task by signing Reggie White of the Philadelphia Eagles, who had become a free agent after the 1992 season. Reggie White had star power and was an outstanding citizen and a leader among NFL players, respected by black players. His presence with the Packers sent a message that things were changing in Green Bay.
However, the signing of Reggie White alone would not change the culture in Green Bay for black players. It was common knowledge that if the Packers’ black players wanted a more active social life, they would need to travel to Milwaukee or Chicago. Milwaukee was two hours away by car, and Chicago four hours. Wolfe and Holmgren wanted to improve conditions for their black players and to make them more comfortable. They employed two simple strategies. First, a barber from Milwaukee was brought in once a week because no one in Green Bay specialized in styling African American hair. In addition, twice a week the Packers served foods that were customary to black culture. The players responded well to Wolfe’s and Holmgren’s strategies. The players appreciated the fact that the Packers were making an effort to understand their diverse culture and needs.
As the actions of the Packers were accepted by the black players and word began to spread around the league that Green Bay was a good situation, the whole attitude around the Packer organization became more positive. It also became easier to recruit and sign players in Green Bay. Players and coaches were more satisfied and focused on their work, and the weather didn’t seem so cold anymore. While these changes were small, the results were huge—the Packers and their fans were rewarded in 1996 when the team won Super Bowl XXXI and again in 2010 at Super Bowl XLV.
1. Why were Wolfe, Holmgren, and the Packer organization concerned with diversity?
2. Discuss the extent to which they accommodated diversity and activated that diversity.
3. Besides providing the barber and desired food, what other strategies might the Packers have employed to manage different beliefs, values, and attitudes of their players?
4. Given the small town community of Green Bay, with its small black population and lack of cultural activities, what role can the community play in understanding and valuing diversity to help the Packers?
5. Will these types of strategies work in the everyday workplace or small sport organization?
6. Do you think having more diversity on the Packers roster has helped the team to win championships? Explain.
7. Review the Packer website (www.packers.com). Does their marketing and website reflect diversity? How could their marketing and website do a better job at promoting diversity? What diversity strategies could be employed?
8. Go online and search for other sport organizations that demonstrate diversity through their marketing and design of their websites. Can you find any sport organizations that do not value and promote diversity and multiculturalism? Explain.