Archive for June 2nd, 2005

June 2, 2005: 11:36 am: Big Blunders

(In the spirit of the Deep Throat revelations, we’ll call this “Golden Gate-gate”.)

In past articles, I’ve commented on the growing media savvy in the sports world. NASCAR drivers, hockey players, and many others have sought specific training in learning how to deal with the media.

No one wants to be the next Latrell — or T.O. — or Jimmy the Greek.

Smart organizations are being proactive about coaching off-the-field behavior and on-the-record interviews.

Now, they ought to take a cue from the San Francisco 49er’s and be smart in executing that plan, too. (Smarter than the team’s ex-public relations director.)

In the video, public-relations director Kirk Reynolds cavorts with naked strippers, spoofs gay marriage and interviews then-team trainer George Chung, who does a parody of a Chinese accent.

Unfortunately, Reynolds works in one of the most diversity-sensitive zip codes on the planet.

The footage was enough for Doris Y.S. Owyang, a Chinese-American lesbian, to declare the end of her status as a lifelong 49ers fan.

“I’m mad. Did the civil rights movement never happen in this country? Have we struggled for equal rights for nothing when a professional football team that has fans in all these communities makes fun of the homeless, the mayor, gay marriage and Chinese.”

Owyang was incensed by scene in which Reynolds interviews a character called Suck Hung (played by Chung), who speaks in an exaggerated accent while translating a Chinese newspaper story.

Imagine the firestorm that would have erupted had there been significant Asian and gay populations in San Francisco. Oh wait. You don’t have to! Quick action on the part of the 49er’s may deflect a lot of the heat onto the “rogue agent” who did this on his own… but you know those wounds will be ripped open after the is tape goes public. You know it’s eventually going to leak to the internet. I’m betting by Monday.

: 9:11 am: Uncategorized

Most public relations problems are the result of a mistake or a miscommunication.

Every so often, you run across an example of a blunder that makes you wonder: “What were you thinking???”

A middle school principal in Georgia is playing damage control, after denying a visit from a U.S. Marine who wanted to thank a class who wrote him while he was overseas.

So far, her backtracking and explanations have not been consistent, and she’s digging herself into a bigger hole.

: 12:11 am: Uncategorized

…unless you’re the 900-pound gorilla.

The Wal-Mart bashers are out in force, and this time they are crying foul that the retailer would dare stoop to spending big bucks on “reputation management.” (After all, they ought to be using that cash to give employees better benefits, and raises so they can afford to shop at Target.)

I’m not the only one who’s been watching the awakening of the giant. Peter Himler has his take on a burgeoning double-standard in his “The Flack” blog.