LeBron James showed this week why is a king. Of his community.
I was never a huge LeBron James fan. I respected his hoops magic, but for whatever reason, he wasn’t that “must see” athlete for me. Yesterday changed all of that. He leads this week’s After Further Review.
• The man’s got class — You’ve heard by now that one of the newest members of the Los Angeles Lakes, LeBron James, opened a public non-charter school Monday in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. The I Promise School began the school year with 240 at-risk third and fourth graders and plans to expand to more than 1,000 students in coming years. As if that’s not impressive enough, the school has also incorporated a program for parents. In addition to offering assists with housing and shopping, I Promise School will help parents who didn’t graduate from high school work toward their GEDs. That James and his directors understand the value of and encourage education at home, is huge. When we talk about athletes’ contributions to their communities, this will certainly rank near if not at the top. And we didn’t even get to the part about students having an opportunity to earn college scholarships when they graduate from high school.
• Princess of Darkness sees clearly — Former Oakland Raiders executive Amy Trask is a known voice of civility on Twitter. She recently made a suggestion for the NFL that made me ask, “why wouldn’t teams do this?” It would be a wonderful way to show that again, sports can bring people together. Our world needs that now more than ever. And frankly, so does the NFL.
If security costs are a factor, schedule another date/time for season ticket holders to connect and hold a lottery for a few hundred “at large” attendees. Let’s embrace our differences, and what better way to break the ice than through our connection to sports?
• Tweet responsibly — My first blog about how social media amplifies bad behavior was in January 2011. Yes, twenty-eleven. Other entries followed because athletes sporadically continued to go off the rails, mostly on Twitter In many of those posts, I wrote that you can delete the ugly, but they’re always out there somewhere. In the case of Major League Baseball players Trea Turner, Sean Newcomb and of course Josh Hader. they didn’t bother to delete the ugly stuff. There are lots of adjectives to describe their revealed tweets, not to mention the obvious — ugly, racist, vile — for starters. What’s stunning is that none of these men thought to head off trouble by scrubbing their accounts before they became professional baseball players. While the tweets could still reappear, there’s less of a chance when they don’t live on the site anymore. Theirs is a generation that grew up online. But now the question arises, where is team personnel that said they looked at athletes’ social media accounts? Where were the players’ agents (my voice goes up a level, with that one)? How do you let a client negotiate with a team without putting their social media accounts through a jumbo scrub cycle 10 times?
By now, everyone’s radar should be on high alert. Young and stupid are no longer viable excuses when it comes to things you say or write, and the media and public have every right to ask about your values for the rest of your career.
• Media Training — don’t ditch media when you don’t like a question — This goes for anyone whether they’re in business or part of a professional sports team. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady should know better. When he walked away from a press gathering after a reporter asked about his trainer and business partner Alex Guerrero’s possible connection to teammate Julian Edelman’s suspension, he fled. There are lots of civil ways he could have answered the question and it wouldn’t have become social media fodder and top-fold training camp news. Instead, Brady walked away in a huff and let the speculation grow. It simply wasn’t necessary and proves one thing — it’s never too late for a PR training session.