Friday, September 19, 2008

Hey, Cooley ... check me out!

In the very last post on this blog we talked about Chris Cooley and how athletes can manage (or mismanage) their image through new media technologies. Cooley got in some hot water for some of the pictures he showed on his blog site. Now, cell phone cameras may do in Dallas Mavericks star Josh Howard.

Howard was taking part in a celebrity flag football game and had some derogatory (and profane) comments about the national anthem and the U.S. in general (feel free to check out the rant, but be warned the language is very objectionable).

We still have a First Amendment and Howard can say anything he wants, so this isn't a free speech issue. Rather, it's about athletes not understanding the new media environment--pervasive, lightning fast and global. Chances are, no matter what you say or do in public (or sometimes even in private) will find its way to worldwide video. Either Howard doesn't understand that or he's too stupid to care. (He doesn't exactly have a choir boy image). What's interesting is that at least publicly, Howard hasn't even bothered to offer an apology or even an explanation, even on his own blog site. The result has been a pretty good grilling from sports media around the country.

Pro sports leagues understand that they have a lot of young, immature athletes on their hands, and they have tried to help in the transition by offering rookie symposia and workshops. But there's news out today that even the best of intentions sometimes can't make a difference.

Every young kid thinks he's bulletproof, especially those with Maseratis and multi-million dollar contracts. They certainly have a lot to live for; it would be a shame to see it all flushed away with a cell-phone camera.


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