Monday, February 11, 2013

Should Some Athletes Worry About Their Reputations?

Article written by Dave Thomas - Guest Poster
The list of professional athletes over the years who have run into public relations problems seems to grow with each passing year.

While social media did not exist back in the mid-1990s when former NFL great O.J. Simpson found himself a free man, he would appear back on the scene in time, only to eventually find himself behind bars. It seems the Juice couldn't keep himself out of the public limelight.

When Ray Lewis and his Baltimore Ravens captured their second-ever Super Bowl title earlier this month, the future Hall-of-Famer found himself once again the center of controversy.

The media again delved into Lewis’ reported participation in a January 2000 melee that led to an indictment for murder and aggravated-assault charges. As a result of his plea deal, Lewis plead guilty to obstruction, with him testifying against a pair of defendants.

Armstrong Rides Off Into Trouble
And who hasn't seen former Tour de France champ Lance Armstrong in the news lately?

A seven-time winner of cycling’s most famous race, Armstrong lost his Tour de France titles, not to mention receiving a lifelong ban by the sport’s governing body for his reported involvement in doping.

What these three former well-known pro athletes have in common is that their reputations have forever been called into question in the public eye. While their reported indiscretions vary, they all have had to put the best positive spin on their images.

While Simpson is the only one of three to be in prison, he has been joined in time behind bars by other well-known pro athletes, including most recently former San Diego Chargers QB Ryan Leaf.

Once the number two overall pick of the 1998 NFL Draft, Leaf now sits behind bars, having run into a number of charges over the years that include burglary, theft, and drug usage. Yet again, another former athlete who will likely never get his reputation back.

Being Too Social Can Be a Bad Thing
Given that many current and former pro athletes have public relations agents to represent them, one can’t help but wonder if such PR pros have a serious case of heartburn each time their client opens their mouth, especially in today’s social media age.

Even though most professional sports teams allow their athletes to be open to the public with websites, social media pages etc. (some place restrictions on how or how often they can use them) it would certainly behoove such organizations to have some sort of social media policy in place.

Meantime, when it comes to online reputations, pro athletes need to make sure they are in the game of proper marketing.

Otherwise, they may find themselves on the sidelines sooner than expected.

About the Author: With 23 years’ writing experience, Dave Thomas covers a variety of small business topics, including I need online reputation protection.

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