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The NFL's hiring of former FBI Director Robert Mueller shows a pattern of high-profile companies attempting to erase erroneous pasts. (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)

(Bloomberg) — It’s becoming a time-worn script. Company gets in trouble. Public gets upset. Company hires former head of three-letter agency or former prosecutor to get to the bottom of said trouble in thick report. Public forgives.

The National Football League’s decision to hire former FBI Director Robert Mueller to examine its handling of a player’s domestic violence case mimics companies such as General Motors Co. and BP Plc in hiring high-profile outsiders to blunt criticism by airing their dirty laundry, said James Post, a professor at Boston University School of Management.

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