Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How to Use the Media ... and Vice Versa

Two incredibly talented athletes; two lightning rods for controversy; two huge egos. Two ways of using the sports media.

Terrelle Pryor and LeBron James are both in need of some serious reputation repair. James may be the most hated athlete on the planet since leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers, and his poor play in the NBA Finals was considered a major reason the Miami Heat lost in six games to the Dallas Mavericks. Terrelle Pryor has been forced out of the Ohio State football program, which is still under investigation for some of his questionable activities.

James is using the media as a public confessional. Even after some potentially damaging comments following the Heat's loss in game six, he stepped forward to clarify, apologize and restate his intention to work harder in the off season. James met the media again today with no script and took the heat (pardon the pun) like a man. Even his website reflected a dose of humility and contrition.

By contrast, Pryor had decided to take his PR campaign through super agent Drew Rosenhaus--the same agent who also handles Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco, which should tell you something. Pryor held a press event today in Miami (more irony); his scripted statement said nothing and he refused to handle questions. Pryor seems happy to let Rosenhaus to blow his horn for him, which considering what's happened with Owens and Ochocinco may not the wisest decision.

Two athletes in need of reputation repair. James has a long way to go, but at least seems to understand the road to redemption. To be honest, the level of hate against him is so strong, he may never get there. But Pryor just doesn't seem to get it, and he appears determined to head down a road that may one day push James from his position as America's public sports enemy number one.


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