Two points. That’s all I have this week. With a hat-tip to Bleacher Report NFL writer Mike Freeman’s 10-point stance, a couple of public relations thoughts as they apply to sports in the news …
1 — Drake is annoying, or a master PR guy
That Toronto Raptors “fan” who doesn’t travel with his team* like Spike Lee, to whom he’s been compared, covered the Raptors bench like tarp, stalked near the scorers’ table and even gave a little back-rub to Coach Nick Nurse during Toronto’s NBA Eastern Conference Final Game 3 against the Milwaukee Bucks. His name is Aubrey Graham. He’s better known in this world by the mainstream and music fans by his middle name: Drake.
The NBA has a Fan Code of Conduct that should apply to Mr. Graham, yet officials have yet to make the “ambassador” accountable for his antics. He’s also a repeat instigator.
Call Graham Instructor of Irritation or Prince of PR. Subjective basketball fans have marked him annoying at the very least. Objective professionals within basketball have called him out for his antics and suggested ways to quiet him. The bottom line is that Drake’s name is all over the Eastern Conference Finals and beyond. I spoke to someone before Game 4 and he said his mother called asking about Drake’s role in this playoff. “She’s not even a basketball fan,” he told me.
I don’t know if this translates into more music or merchandise sales, but whatever he’s doing, Drake’s name is part of conversations in at least two countries during the Raptors’ series against the Bucks. Like it or not.
*NBA on TNT analyst Reggie Miller who was famously trolled by Lee during his playing days, dropped Drake’s name for not showing for road games during Game 3 of this series.
2 — Rodgers roasted in his beer
Poor Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. A minority owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, the NFL MVP has watched from courtside seats a few times this season with big-screen welcomes and cheers. Rodgers acknowledges the crowd with a wave or cap tip.
Enter Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari who when introduced to the Bucks crowd earlier in the playoffs, chugged a beer to the sound of cheers from the crowd. During Game 5, Bakhtiari upped the ante and guzzled three beers while fans roared.
In response, Fiserve Forum cameras turned back to Rodgers who lifted his beer and more-or-less sipped it. He’s been called out by peers who’ve tried to educate how to drink a beer to others playfully saying he’s misplaced in Wisconsin, a state that’s known for its hops and barley brew.
My theory is that Rodgers is the face of the Green Bay Packers and has a professional image to maintain. So do his teammates, but as the most visible person in the organization, his image isn’t one that hinges on him tossing down a cold one or three in front of 18 thousand-plus in the arena, and millions of people watching elsewhere. Could he pound a few beers? My guess is probably, with no problem. Unlike offensive linemen who are seen as burly looking and acting guys, I thought that Rodgers sees the PR value in being a straight guy. I don’t mind that. Especially if it allows him to better deliver the ball to receivers come football season.
Whether you’re a quarterback, lineman or kicker, always drink responsibly and like these men, have a designated driver.
©Gail Sideman, gpublicity.com 2019