Tag Archives: Football

Twenty Nine, So Fine

September is my favorite time of the year: Football is back, the weather is not too hot, not too cold and it’s my birthday month. Like my mother raised me to do, I celebrate all month! Dinners, champagne, cake, presents, I love it all AND I adore having all of my people sitting around the same table.

I like to reflect each year around my birthday – to think about how much I’ve grown and challenged myself in the last year and to wonder about all that’s to come in the upcoming year. This year, I’d also like to celebrate.

Me, in my element, celebrating my promotion day ūüėČ

Twenty-eight was great in almost every way possible. So many highs, incredible moments imprinted forever in my mind. Those moments did not come without struggle. I’m proud of how I’ve grown this year and stretched myself, both literally and figuratively, in ways I didn’t know were possible. There are two specific things I’ll share that I’m celebrating this year.

  • Being brave: I never considered myself brave or someone who takes risks. I’ve rewritten the definition of brave for myself so that it emcompasses thinks like being authentic regardless of the situation, having the confidence to respectfully disagree with leadership at work, saying yes to something I know nothing about and the list continues. I can almost see myself shifting my own mindset about bravery as certain words come (or don’t come) out of my mouth. It’s kind of an outer body experience, one that I’m learning to observe carefully so that I remember what being brave feels like. I’m building my being brave muscle memory so that when I get scared (because I will), I’ll remember how good being brave felt.
  • Knowing what I need and not being afraid (or anxious) to ask for it: When I was fussy as a baby, my mother would take me outside to calm me down. She called it “bye bye, outside.” Twenty something years later and it still works. When I’m stressed, anxious or fustrated, I take myself outside to breathe fully and stare at the clouds. When I’m emotionally drained, I know my safe places to fall so I can recharge without any judgement. It takes practice and patience to listen to your inner voice and discern what you need. Every situation is different but staying true to what you know and clearly articulating it will serve you well.

While I’m excited for my final year in my twenties, it’s all filled with much anticipation. For me, my twenties were a decade with lots of evolution and some painful realities that come with growing up. While I’m thankful for all of them, I also don’t mind wishing them well and seeing them go. Given that, my intention for twenty-nine (or twenty-fine) is to slow down, experience every moment, good or bad and have the confidence to know I’ll come out stronger on the other side.

College Sports in the Hot Seat

RUIf you’ve turned on the news or scrolled through your Twitter feed within the last week, you’ve heard about the Rutgers University Men’s Basketball coach who¬†was fired because of his behavior during a video-taped practice. Coach Mike Rice was released from his duties as head basketball coach on April 3rd after being caught using abrasive language and physically abusing his players. Since then, Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti was also released from Rutgers. It has been said that Pernetti knew of Rice’s inappropriate behavior.

Also making the headlines this week was the Auburn University football program, who committed several NCAA recruiting violations, paid their players and had players’ grades changed. A full report was completed by reporter Selena Roberts who detailed all of the infractions on her website.

It seems a day doesn’t pass where some college isn’t in the hot seat for a sports scandal. You can’t forget the fake girlfriend mess of Manti Te’o from Notre Dame or the booster club nightmare at the University of Miami. Of course, the most infamous of them all was the Penn State child abuse scandal involving Jerry Sandusky and Joe Paterno. The real question is why so many college sports scandals?

The possible answers are endless. People are more connected to the media. Athletes are treated more elite and therefore feel entitled and untouchable. Competition among teams has increased and translates into real dollars for both the players and the university. None of these are acceptable answers for the behavior we’ve seen from college athletes and administrators just within the last year.

Since it seems almost inevitable that some issue will arise within a college’s athletic program, everyonesocial media world involved has to be prepared for the worst. I am certainly no expert, but after watching these tragedies unfold, here are my tips for preparing for a college sports crisis:

1. Be Proactive: Communicate with your athletes the social media policies that are in place for your team and for the university. Don’t have a social media policy? I suggest you create one for your team because most of them are active on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Even show them examples of what is appropriate versus what is not.

2. Discuss¬†Hypotheticals: Take ten minutes of a team meeting each month to talk about the ‘what if’ situations that could happen to these athletes. Use case studies that have actually occurred. Make team members respond and evaluate what they say. This way, if a scandal does occur, the athletes will have a better idea of what to say and how to react.

3. Raise the Bar: While student athletes are an important part of a university, they are still students and human beings. Don’t make exceptions or excuses for them just because they need to play. It sets a bad example and makes the athletes think they can do what they want. By setting a higher standard for student athletes, they can become role models for the university.

Most schools have a crisis communication plan but coaches should talk to their teams about these issues as they happen in real-time. It might prevent further problems in the future. Why do you think there are so many scandals within college sports? Do you agree with my pieces of advice? Please share your thoughts.

Touchdowns & Fumbles of Superbowl 47

I guess I’m going for a sports theme this week! I am an avid football fan and look forward to the Superbowl every year. While my New York Giants were not in attendance, I still tuned in for the game. This year, I really watched the game through a public relations lens, meaning I thought about the positive and negative PR aspects of the entire event. I actually kept a list of touchdowns (pros) and fumbles (cons) from a PR professional’s perspective during the game. Here’s are my thoughts:

Touchdowns

  • The Entertainment:¬†I understand the Superbowl should be about football but by having megastars¬†Alicia Keys and Beyonce¬†perform, you are appealing to a larger audience. You know certain people just tuned in to see these divas perform, thus increasing ratings. Additionally, having children from Netwown, Connecticut sing was the perfect way to honor the memory of all those who lost their lives earlier in the year. A lot of NFL players were in touch with families who lost loved ones so it was an appropriate connection.
  • The Game: Well, obviously the game should be the main focus but sometimes it isn’t. This year, the game proved to be highly entertaining and a nail biter towards the end. Hopefully, the competitive showing by both teams helped the NFL recover from its big blunder of the night.
  • Oreo: Whoever created the advertisement that went viral during the blackout should be promoted immediately! In response to the blackout during the game, Oreo send out an ad over Twitter and Facebook that captured the essence of the brand. The ad was fantastic, but it was even better that Oreo had a social media plan in place for such an event.

 oreoWSJ

Fumbles

  • The Blackout: Of course, this was the biggest problem of the night. I understand things happen that are out of our control. However, you are the NFL and this is your most important event of the year. From the lack of information to the ridiculously long delay, it was clear to see that the NFL did not have a blackout as part of their crisis communication plan. Bet they learned their lesson.
  • The Commercials:¬†Except for all of two commercials, companies did not hit creative gold this year. Most commercials were confusing or utterly disturbing (see GoDaddy). You pay all this money for prime advertising space just to say we’re all farmers or to broadcast old people making out. Customers deserve more.
  • The Players: I feel like this year more than ever, the players in the Superbowl made some silly comments. First example: Joe Flacco¬†using the word retarded to describe playing at MetLife Stadium before the game. Then he dropped an F-bomb after winning while his mic was still on. Ray Lewis as a preacher might offend some people. My advice: hire a publicist to write statements for you. You have the money to do it.

I enjoyed watching the Superbowl this year. It felt good to take everything I’ve learned in school and apply it to a real-life event. I have noticed more and more that I view situations and events through my PR lens. Can’t lie, I love it! Goes to show that I chose the right career!

What were your favorite parts of the Superbowl? Share your thoughts with me!

superbowl47

The Seriousness of Suicide

Javon Belcher

Javon Belcher

On Saturday morning, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker¬†Jovan Belcher shot himself at Arrowhead Stadium after killing his girlfriend. The 25 year-old professional football player hadn’t missed a start with the Chiefs since he began there in 2009. Belcher and his girlfriend leave behind a 3-month old baby girl. Both the Chiefs’ head coach and general manager witnessed the suicide early Saturday morning.

All of the Kansas City Chiefs players commented that Belcher was a great teammate and someone who worked hard on and off the field. Everyone around him didn’t see any warning signs and can’t grasp why Belcher would end his life. A professional athlete whose dream came true with supportive teammates and a baby daughter; what could have been so bad that he chose to take such drastic measures?

While the actions of Jovan Belcher were tragic, one positive lesson that comes from this situation is the attention it draws to mental illness. Clearly, Belcher was not in his right state of mind when he went trigger happy on Saturday morning. Mental illness does not discriminate or come with a warning. All different types of people suffer from depression, rage, anxiety and various other problems that put them into a dark place. Sometimes there are warning signs, but usually there aren’t. The only real way to help those suffering from mental illness is to remove the stigma from such diseases. People should not be afraid to talk about what they are feeling, regardless of how extreme.

The Kansas City Chiefs released a statement Saturday saying how great a loss it was and sent prayers to his family. More importantly, the Chiefs did not become involved in any of the speculated drama between Belcher and his girlfriend. They focused their message on the loss of their teammate. The most poignant statement was the Chiefs continuing to play their game on Sunday to honor their fallen teammate and his love for the game.

In response to the Jevon Belcher suicide, the NFL launched a suicide help line for current and former NFL players. All phone calls will be kept confidential and the service will be ran independently from the NFL. On their website, there are a series of videos featuring NFL players including Brett Favre telling players that it is okay to ask for help. This is an important step for the NFL to take in order to support all its players. It is also a smart, conscious response to a crisis that shines a positive light on a negative situation.

The Kansas City Chiefs at Sunday's game

The Kansas City Chiefs at Sunday’s game

I am beyond happy to see the NFL aid its players in the real struggle they are facing today. By bringing the issue of suicide to the forefront, hopefully other players and people will be able to get help. Suicide is not something to joke about and must be taken seriously. If you or anyone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, remember there are people out there to help you.

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