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The best and worst in PR this week

Like a lot of people who follow and help produce news for a living, some of it was tough to read and hear during the last few months. From sports to politics, the COVID-19 outbreaks got worse, people got uglier in how they dealt with it and then … the elections.

So, it’s all over now and we can get on with life.

In the words of the irreplaceable Lee Corso, not so fast my friend.

To list the best and worst in PR in 2020 would take volumes, so I’m going to hit just a few in sports from the past week. Even though the timeline is short, reverberations from some will last into the new year.

Dabo (still) doesn’t get it — Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney is really good with Xs and Os. He recruits talented players. When he opens his mouth, however, he’s Dabo Dingbat. From what he says publicly we can only deduce that he doesn’t respect a pandemic that has taken more than 260,000 American lives and has led to shutdowns and cancelations from ball to Broadway. He continued a rant in which he accused Florida State’s football team of bailing on a game because of a COVID-19 positive test. He obviously didn’t get the memo that COVID is highly transmittable and hospitals are at or near capacity throughout the country. And yes, young, healthy people get it too.

NCAA needs to get out of the way — From its predictable push from establishing an acceptable NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) framework, the NCAA continues to kick the ball down the street as it works to say it accepts college athletes’ need to be compensated beyond scholarships while pushing back on everything it cannot control. Sound familiar?

But. There. Is. Good.

NFL helps those in need— I’m putting the National Football League in the Good Guys bin because during challenging economic and psychological times for many in the United States, several players past and present distributed turkeys or full meals to those in need during Thanksgiving week. Players also continue to contribute to their communities after they joined athletes that play other sports to educate and activate voters in their home cities.

Michael Jordan makes a difference — The NBA icon donated $2 million that he earned from his documentary, “The Last Dance” to Feeding America at a time when the pandemic is sending more people to food lines than any time maybe since the Great Depression. Sure, Jordan has more cash than the U.S. Treasury, but his outreach means that some families in the Carolinas and Chicago, areas where his name is etched in basketball stone, had food to put on the table this week.

While these are hardly the only good and not-so-good PR moves this week, it’s a sports sampling.

If you want to be known for the good things you say and do, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’ll work with you steer your words to the right side of history. Because in 2020, they last forever.


©Gail Sideman, 2020

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