Category Archives: Uncategorized

Mirroring Social Evolution

Donald Sterling ClippedAs I sit and think about sports today, I think about the hot topics splattering headlines in the recent weeks and months. It’s not about money or arrests or even cheating. Instead, we’re reading and discussing unacceptable bigotry in major league sports – Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s racist comments and Michael Sam becoming the first openly gay player in the NFL. While some may not agree, I think this is pretty incredible. An industry previously thought of as traditional, and keen to an unspoken “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, has now become a reflection of real social change.

A lifetime ban for Donald and jerseys flying off the shelves for Sam (despite his lack of assigned number) have both been applauded by the general public, as well as the players and organizations they support.

Furthermore, when Miami Dolphins safety Don Jones tweeted, “Horrible” shortly following the St. Louis Rams selection of Sam in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL draft, he was bombarded with disapproving criticism. His employer even issued a statement assuring the public that he would be addressed appropriately. An admirable effort from the team that was previously at the center of a bulling scandal – bringing national scrutiny to locker room culture in the NFL.

Circling back to the outrageous babbling of Donald Sterling, a valid question was raised by his wife, Shelly Sterling, in an interview with Barbara Walters: “I’m wondering if a wife of one of the owners, and there’s 30 owners, did something like that, said those racial slurs, would they oust the husband? Or would they leave the husband in?” An interesting and noteworthy perspective, but perhaps not a legitimate claim. We’ll have to wait (likely years) to see her fate while she contemplates the fate of her marriage. Donald, on the other hand, issued an apology today via a taped CNN interview with Anderson Cooper begging to be allowed this one mistake in his 35 years of ownership. Somehow I doubt that this is his one and only mistake during that time…but I could be wrong…

All in all, once the standard is now the unacceptable. While state and federal laws in the past few years (and 50 years) have helped spearhead equal rights movements worldwide, it was once projected that men’s professional sports were far from following suit. With both surprise and gratitude, I look to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Michael Sam and the St. Louis Rams (and their PR teams, of course) for their courage and commitment to social change in sports. It may be too early to say that we are entering a new world of sports, but this is undoubtably a conscious effort by industry leaders to shift perception and mirror societal evolution.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Goodbye for now…

Because of the impending pressures of senior year, I have decided to retire my blog indefinitely. Thank you for visiting and following my thoughts over the past year. Go Ducks!

Baby Tiger steps

I read an article this morning via Yahoo! Sports talking about Tiger Woods’ latest encounter with the media, and get this…it made him look good. The golfer is sidelined for a knee injury and was scheduled to talk to the media yesterday. Before the press conference, Woods tweeted,

For once, the media didn’t hold up their end of the bargain. The deal was over with the first question, but right after the press conference Tiger tweeted he would still donate the money to the charity. While money can’t buy a good reputation (or get one back), this is a pretty good start. Tiger has obviously still got a long way to go…baby steps…

Tagged , , , , , ,

Facts4Lance…or is that against?

Last week, ESPN Page 2 posted their Power Rankings. At the top of the list was Facts4Lance.com, Lance’s website to combat doping accusations and media attacks.

In the article, ESPN points out Lance’s website was a good plan…in theory. The cyclist is at the center of a major scandal. Here’s a guy, amazing athlete, diagnosed with cancer, but fights for his life to make the comeback of a lifetime, literally. He created the Livestrong brand that stands for surviving cancer. He has positioned himself as a hero and it looks as if that’s vanishing right before his eyes.

This got me thinking. In my PR classes, we always learn about crisis communications; what we should do if our brand has done something wrong and people find out. But what about if you’re wrongly accused? What do you do then?

Regardless of whether Lance doped or not, Facts4Lance.com may be doing more harm than good. This guy that use to warm the hearts of America and stand for hope is now coming off defensive, angry and aggressive. He’s getting mad at the same broadcasters that may have been willing to give him a chance to explain himself. Now, not so much.

The moral of this story is don’t burn bridges, because at least once in every lifetime we all have to cross a river we thought we’d never have to. And what then? Well, then you’re stuck.

Tagged , , , ,

Hello blogosphere

Ahhh, the pressure of the first post! Before we start discussing the the current issues in the professional and college sports industries, let me tell you a little bit about myself as a sports fan and an aspiring PR practitioner.

I was raised by a Michigander, which means being a Tigers and Redwings fan in good times and bad. Growing up in the Palo Alto, California area, I rooted for Stanford, always hoping to play basketball for the university until I realized my genetics wouldn’t allow me to reach anywhere past 5’2″. Around the time I came to this reality I fell in love with the University of Oregon Ducks where I started in the fall of 2008. It wasn’t until college that I started following professional basketball more avidly. Although I was surrounded by Blazer fans, I immediately clung to the Sacramento Kings. My timing isn’t the best, I know, seeing as the Kings are one of the worst teams in NBA right now and there’s talk of them moving to southern California or Las Vegas…more about that later.

Backtracking a little. After graduating from high school in 2008, I was hired to a mobile social networking company from Japan that was looking to dip its toes in the American market. For this company I worked on branding a company unknown in the US. It was here that I realized the importance of branding yourself be it corporate or personal. I, like many other students, took a summer off when the economy crashed and was lucky to land an internship last summer (2010) at The Bateman Group. TBG is a boutique PR and social media marketing agency located in San Francisco with clients primarily in the technology industry but recently ranging far beyond any one category. With the guidance of the Bateman team I was able to learn the do’s and don’ts in the PR realm with respect to media relations, writing and client relations. Towards the end of my internship with TBG I wrote a post for the company blog, “Bateman Banter,” addressing public relations teaching and learning in the digital age.

I am currently midway through the public relations sequence within the School of Journalism and Communications at Oregon. Maintaining a blog of our own interests is part of my “J 452: Strategic Public Relations Communications” class. With that in mind, I’m sure this blog will live much longer than the ten-week term. This blog will talk about what’s going on in the sports industry from a public relations perspective; I guess you could say I’m mixing business with pleasure…hopefully in a good way. So, this is for all those sports fans and PR enthusiasts who know that some of the worst handled situations occur in sports.

Hope you enjoy what’s to come!

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: