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The Minnesota Vikings PR Soap Opera

The Minnesota Vikings are grateful for two things this week: Wade Phillips, who became the former Dallas Cowboys’ coach when owner Jerry Jones pulled the plug on his tenure, Monday. Vikings’ quarterback Brett Favre’s career performance of 466 yards and a fourth-quarter comeback to beat the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday. The former is what bumped the…

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LeBron James Shares New Image Through Nike Ad

Before you read further, watch Nike’s latest commercial, “Rise,” featuring LeBron James.

The Background

Since most of you already know the story, I’ll make this as quick as I can. Feel free to skip through if you know the background. The last four or five months have been interesting for the King. After seven years in Cleveland and no championship rings, LeBron James decided it was time to leave.

In a prime time ESPN event called The Decision, LeBron announced to the world that he would be “taking [his] talents to South Beach” to play for the Miami Heat. Cavs fans were furious, their hometown hero (LBJ is from Akron, Ohio) was leaving them, having never delivered the championship he promised.

Basketball fans from all over were upset as well, mainly with how LeBron decided to handle the announcement. Even though the money raised during the show was then donated to the Boys & Girls Club of America, most thought it was a pretentious and selfish way to announce his decision.

Throughout the offseason, LeBron has come under a lot of fire. He’s been called out for quitting on his team in the playoffs, for leaving Cleveland, for The Decision. Dan Gilbert, the Cavs’ owner, publicized a nasty letter about LeBron.

Recently, LBJ came out and said he thought that all of the backlash from The Decision was partially a race issue, and that if he were of a different skin color, none of this would have been a big deal. Also, in the past few weeks, LeBron has retweeted several hateful and derogatory tweets, examples of messages he says he receives every day.

In the end, LeBron’s image has changed from a beloved NBA superstar, a hometown hero, and possibly the one-day greatest basketball player of all time to the biggest villain in the league (yes, above Kobe, he’s going to get booed everywhere he goes), a selfish superstar who betrayed his city for more money (smaller contract, bigger endorsements), more fame, and an easier championship ring.

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Text Messages Aren’t Good for PR

Nothing is sure in this world except death, taxes and text messages that will come back to bite you in places that will hurt.

Right now, future NFL Hall of Fame quarterback, Brett Favre, is smarting from even the suggestion that he texted a former game-day reporter for the New York Jets (there is no verification of these stories and the investigation by the NFL is in its infancy). This news evolves as golfer Tiger Woods continues to reel from released text messages, voice mails and his eventual admission to infidelity that cost him millions of dollars in endorsements and his marriage during the past year.

My guess is that phone companies are vetting each future endorsement prospect like never before.

There is a lesson here for everyone, however: everything we record in type or voice and transmit via Internet, phone or cable, is forever traceable and transferrable. The messages are also resilient to destruction. They are the movie ticket stubs that we keep for years as mementos or prom dress that hangs in a closet decades after your big night. The big difference is that texts, emails and voice messages tell stories. There’s little to guess about what’s being communicated because it’s out there for people to read and hear if that once-special someone chooses to share what you may have assumed to be forever private.

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5 Proactive PR Tips for Sports Figures

It’s official. Tiger Woods announced on his website that he will begin his comeback from the personal mega-bogey that derailed his professional career for four months. Ben Roethlisberger is still fighting a sexual assault charge, his second such fumble in three years. Four University of Oregon football players have been in trouble with the law…

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Reputation Management: Athletes Facing Controversy

(This is a guest article by Wesley Mallette) Athletes in trouble. We see it every day in the news and find ourselves wondering aloud, “Wow. Did they really just say/do that?” The vast majority of athletes will face a crisis of some proportion during their career or post-career. How they handle it is everything, and…

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Ready, Set, Luge!

Will the Winter Olympics get more attention than people say and if not, is it a public relations issue? It’s interesting that I hear and see people asking others if they are going to watch the Winter Olympics. A recent poll revealed that just 20 percent of Americans plan to make the Games a viewing…

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Super Bowl Commercials Play Role in Branding

A few days ago a reporter called and asked how I would advise a professional athlete if he wanted to endorse a hot-button topic in a forum as big as a Super Bowl audience. My answer was not textbook public relations. (I will reveal the outlet and topic upon its publication). The reasons that athletes…

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Find a Job in Sports: Be Your Own PR Agent

I’ve decided to take a detour from writing about current issues and events surrounding sports public relations to provide some simple tips to young people entering the business. I recently read a query from a college-age man who is set to graduate this spring. He asked for advice from the panel about how to get…

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Athletes Step Up to Help Haiti Earthquake Victims

So many conversations of the last year, and certainly beyond, have focused on huge dollar figures that go along with professional sports and their high-paid, spoiled athletes. During this past week, players from across the professional sports spectrum who are often portrayed as being little more than indulgent have shown quite the opposite personas. They…

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University of Alabama Cancels Classes for BCS Title Game and Escapes PR Wringer

Am I the only one who finds that the University of Alabama canceling classes January 6-8, thus postponing the start of its spring semester so its students and faculty can attend the BCS National Championship game in Pasadena, Calif., ironic? I’m all for giving Crimson Tide fans calendar flexibility to travel to see their team…

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Well, This is Awkward. Tiger is Decade’s Top Athlete.

Three weeks ago, Tiger Woods had it all. He was the world’s best golfer, a superstar athlete with a beautiful wife and kids, millions of dollars, sound endorsements from big brands, and an untarnished image. Then, in the very early hours of Black Friday, Tiger Woods was involved in a single-car accident on his neighbor’s…

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Tiger Tales…This is No Children’s PR Story

Have you read and heard more than your share about Tiger Woods’ unfortunate meeting with a fire hydrant and a tree last Friday morning? I think I have. But one last thing…and only because it’s the main, if not the biggest sports PR story this year, and is already leading Jay Leno’s monologue. The quickie…

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