Big Ben Roethlisberger gave the media a stiff arm today in Pittsburgh. How long he plans to remain silent is anyone’s guess.
The quarterback promised the NFL he would change his ways and would give up bar hopping and unnecessary (and illegal) roughness with strange women.
He had no choice. As an NFL superstar, his image is closely entwined with that of his league, and his masters are losing their patience.
But besides getting some serious psychological counseling demanded by the NFL, we hoped that Ben was bright enough to seek out the services of a solid PR professional who could school him on the necessity of facing the media as part of an overall campaign to prove he is not an overpaid thug.
But Ben’s recent refusal to face the media’s tough questions suggests that he has ignored a PR coach’s advice or never sought it. Shame.
At 15-Seconds.com, we teach our clients that when nasty question await your next meeting with reporters –don’t run away –suck it up and get it over with.
In Ben’s case, it is better to face the media now (armed with some well practiced sound bites) than to let the pressure build as the season nears. Those sound bites are easier to learn than a few new routes in the playbook.
Big Ben might take a lesson from the baseball world – a lesson executed to perfection months before the season’s first pitch.
Remember all the controversy when Mark McGwire decided he wanted to return to baseball? Perhaps you don’t. Because after taking some good advice, McGwire held a series of media availabilities and let the press punched themselves out. They asked their questions and largely moved on.
Now, when McGwire and the Cardinals travel around the national league, the questions are mostly about baseball. Imagine that, Big Ben! A well crafted play that scored.
A last piece of advice from the 15-Second playbook from to two wily old veterans of the crisis communications game:
Reporters are like alligators, you don’t have to like them, but if you are wise, you will keep them well fed.