Archive for August 4th, 2006

Trevor Graham–coach in trouble

August 4, 2006

Trevor Graham is Justin Gatlin’s coach and he is in big trouble. The blame for Gatlin’s positive drug test is focusing on him. He accused a massage therapist, but Graham appears to have a long history of coaching athletes with performance enhancing drug problems. Now he’s got a real problem. An attorney who doesn’t understand the instant news world. Here’s from The International Herald Tribune story today: “Graham, who has disavowed knowledge of drug use by any of his athletes, did not respond to requests for comment, but his lawyer, Joseph Zeszotarski, said in an e-mail message that he would issue a statement over the weekend. “There is no basis for any ban of Trevor, and he will be pursuing all legal avenues available to him,” Zeszotarski wrote.”

What’s wrong with this? A statement issued this weekend certainly won’t help the readers of this story. Statements coming from his lawyer will make it clear that reporters and readers will have little interest in the statement anyway. It will be so spun and so protective of the legal case that it is hard to imagine it could help Graham in dealing with a very serious reputation issue. Graham needs to be able to comment directly, straightforwardly, hopefully completely honestly. No talking through lawyers. No waiting for written statements. No delay at all. And no carefully crafted legalese that does nothing to address the real questions that the public has. That’s a tough spot, but it is what we expect and the only hope for reputation enhancement.

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The blog and media connection

August 4, 2006

I have counseled clients that there is connection between blogs and MSM (mainstream media). This is true for those organizations facing a lot of negative chatter around the “global watercooler.” (By the way, that’s my not technical term for the blogosphere, which sounds kind of clunky and non-descriptive to me.) But it is also true for more positive media attention. Case in point is my interview in 45 minutes as I write this with a sports reporter for the Orlando Sentinel. The question is crisis management for celebrity athletes in trouble such as Justin Gatlin and Floyd Landis. How did this reporter find me to ask a question? Through this blog of course. And if and when this blog becomes a watercooler around which people gather to talk about crisis management, reputation crises, news media coverage, stakeholder engagement and all those issues that interest me, the MSM will not only come to ask my view, but they will come here to see what others are saying about these topics. So join in the conversation folks. The watercooler is getting livelier!