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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One Response to “Trevor Graham–coach in trouble”

  1. Al Says:

    I totally agree with you on this. Graham has been hiding behind lawyers for too long. If he expects to maintain a good reputation as a coach he needs to be straightforward with this scandal. Many athletes out there are struggling to make it to the top, while others enjoy the pleasures of major sponsors (which doping helps them to maintain.) Go to any major meet on the US circuit and you’ll see these guys pulling up in the nicest cars flashing the latest in gear. I’m not hating on their success, but come on lets do this thing honestly.

    Maybe these kinds of scandals will make the major sponsors see that athletes take time to progress and that developmental programs are needed. If you lose a race or two they want to threaten you with pay cuts and release from contract. Athletics needs a bit more structure and the shark like tactics used by athletic sponsors needs to be curbed.

    Thanks for your time,


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