Does bad PR off the field transfer to bad play on the field?


Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley

It feels like every week a different athlete is in the news receiving a DUI. This week the public found out about the alleged DUI’s of Phoenix Suns Jason Richardson, San Diego Chargers Vincent Jackson and former NBA pro Antoine Walker. The public also found out more details of former commentator Charles Barkely’s DUI.

Is it just me or do publicists need to do a better job of letting their clients know that images can be easily ruined by off the field incidents?

Other recent memorable off the field incidents are Plaxico Burress weapons charges, Michael Vick’s dog fighting ring, and the University of Colorado’s sexual assault against players on its football team  

After Burress was suspended from the New York Giants, the team lost more games than they won. The year after Vick was prosecuted, his former team finished 4-12. Finally, the University of Colorado, which had football players that faced six counts of rape and their program was under investigation for using sex to recruit players, had a tough four seasons after those incidents. The went a combined 20-30. 

Can we conclude that negative PR affects on the field play directly? No, but I think there is some correlation. I don’t work in sports PR, but I would love to know the conversations VP’s of media relations have with new players and coaches when they are first acquired. Sports PR heads need to use real life case study examples of how not to act. 

Communicating about negativity should help prevent incidents, but unfortunately that isn’t always true.

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