Just trying to RELATE…


PR Connection: Toiling Tiger and Reckless Roethlisberger – PR and Pro Athletes

Posted in Assignments,Social Media by meshae on April 20, 2010

As a sports fanatic, I do my best to keep up with current sports happenings and the athletes that keep the industry buzzing.

Lately, two athletes from two different arenas come to mind, golfing great Tiger Wood and NFL quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

With the 2010 Master’s Tournament only a few weeks passed, the media jumped after Woods announced his return to competition. I tuned in to some of the Master’s coverage and sure enough there was “more than enough” coverage on Woods. Tweets were posted the whole week that acknowledged the massive amount of information being shared about the blemished golfer, his wife and his current “situation.”

After sharing his adultery with the world, Woods faced some pretty tough audiences and arguably lowered himself to the “just another pro-athlete” status. I’m sure most would agree that prior to his “accident” over the 2009 Thanksgiving holidays; his image was spotless compared to his athletic colleagues. Since last November, Woods and his entourage have been toiling to reclaim his position as one of the world’s most respectable athletes. Is it possible?

The question has been asked before, but why is it that we scrutinize the personal lives of professional athletes?

Before you attempt to answer that, let’s move to Pittsburgh Steeler Ben Roethlisberger. After a March visit to small-town Georgia in 2010, the QB found himself in the spotlight…a not-so-good one might I add.

According to the Associated Press, Roethlisberger was accused of sexually assaulting a college student in Milledgeville, GA. Fortunately for him, charges were dropped after an investigation was completed; however NFL commissioner Roger Goodell didn’t let Roethlisberger go without consequence.

Because of the athlete’s irresponsible behavior, Goodell suspended him for six games this upcoming season. Some may ask “why,” especially considering that the charges were dropped. However, from a PR perspective, Goodell’s decision is one of merit. The suspension shows that the NFL will not tolerate the reckless, negligent behavior of its athletes and that league values its reputation.

I chose to discuss these two athletes because unlike, former Atlanta Falcons QB Michael Vick and Tennessee Titans’ Adam “Pacman” Jones, Woods nor Roethlisberger committed a crime. Although some might argue their wrongs were no different, the consequences administered were indeed.

Turning my focus back to public relations, I can’t help, but discuss the aforementioned “scrutiny” that “we,” society place upon professional athletes, as well as other public figures. It is important for public relations specialists working in the sports industry to recognize this “scrutiny” and be aware of its challenge.

Our job is to keep the images of clients and organizations we represent clean. When issues arise, we must be swift to the scene and remedy the situation. Though other professional industries face scrutiny, in my opinion those who venture to the wide world of sports face the greatest of it.

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One Response to 'PR Connection: Toiling Tiger and Reckless Roethlisberger – PR and Pro Athletes'

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  1. mblubaugh said,

    I am surrounded by guy friends all the time, so ESPN is usually on my TV. I heard about both of these incidents when they happened, and I am just appalled. It really bothers me how big sports stars don’t understand how they are expected to be role models. There are kids idolizing them for their talents and wishing they could be just like them, yet they still go out and do these horrible things. I have heard a lot of celebrities say they don’t want to be role models, or they never wanted to be a role model, but this is something they don’t exactly get to choose. Once they are put in the public eye, they are automatically role models for someone somewhere, so they are expected to behave in a classy manner. Players in the NFL also sing conduct agreements, so they are also breaching these contracts. I’m not exactly sure what I would do if I were the publicist for these celebrities. Hopefully they can get their reputations back on track.


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