Egos and the Eagles


Football season is in full swing and I’m happier than a pig in…well, you get the point. At the office, I’m but a lone football enthusiast surrounded by 22 fanatical Phillies Phans (I shudder to think I just typed that) – to go from 24/7 football talk to 24/7 baseball talk is a hard, undesirable transition, but I digress.

With autumn, there are four things I always expect – the beautiful transitioning leaves, sweatshirt weather allowing me to show off my TU Pride (go Owls!), my birthday festivities and last, but certainly not least, the blatant disregard from NFL players for advice from PR camps and the never-ending “He Said, She Said” battle of wits – or lack thereof.

The most recent display of brilliance comes from the one for whom I have so much pent-up hatred and aggression. Michael Vick, in my personal and steadfast opinion, is a poor excuse for a human being who hasn’t changed but only became a better actor. After the Eagles 29-16 collapse on Sunday – GO GIANTS! – Vick took to the media in a fiery fit. Whining is certainly an understatement and it was obvious that his PR camp had no say in this post game interview. For a man who preaches responsibility, leadership and accountability, Vick threw caution to the wind and ragged on everyone from referees to the Giants’ D-line – the only person unaccountable for his poor play and countless injuries was himself. Vick had this to say while driving off in his overpriced Tonka truck:

Looking at the replays, I’m on the ground every time, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t frustrated. The refs have got to do their jobs. And I mentioned it to the refs in training camp when I talked to them. I’m on the ground constantly, all the time. Every time I throw the ball, I’m on the ground. And I don’t know why I don’t get the 15-yard flags like everybody else does.

Really, Mikey? Your version of a great play is scurrying into a wall of linemen three times your size because you genuinely want to play every position on the field.  As soon as you leave that pocket, you forfeit your quarterback rights in my personal opinion and begin playing a different position, altogether. I am honestly astonished that you weren’t more seriously injured. Could the reason that you are on the ground “every time” simply be because your offensive line is weak? No – couldn’t be.

I imagine sirens were blaring in Joe Banner’s bat cave because less than 24 hours later, Vick had a huge change of heart (almost as quickly as when he realized “dogfighting is a terrible thing” and that he “rejects it”).

The refs have to do their jobs, and they have tons of things to look over. I was kind of out of character and being too candid in that aspect. Ultimately, I have respect for the referees and their decision to make calls. You won’t hear me complaining about it no more.

Ah, yes. The ever celebrated Eagles PR team to the rescue once again. I wonder if it was known just how much of a time-sucking vortex would be created since PR is responsible for monitoring Vick and Jackson, along with the newest acquisition of Vince Young, who genuinely enjoys referring to himself in the third person and laughing at his own jokes. One bang-up dream team you got there, coach.

It is sad if only for the reason that a select few ruin it for the rest of the league. There are a ton of guys who participate community days, help Habitat for Humanity or visit disabled children, but all of that is lost with one or two exaggerated, annoying and uppity mumbles that completely consume media coverage.

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A Slip Of The Tongue


As far as celebrity Twitters go, I embrace the idea of fans digitally “connecting” to a favorite singer or sports star. I even believe, in some situations, that a celebrity may have the emotional stability, poise and professionalism to manage their own brand. Some stars have been in the game long enough to realize what you type may be misread and what you mean may be misinterpreted. Social Media is tricky in its quickness; one slip of the tongue (or finger, in this case) may result in a media firestorm — a nightmare for agents, labels, publicists, and managers all over the world.

This is where we run into a problem.

The managers, publicists and agents are, more often than not, self-admittedly “too old” to know or care about Twitter accounts. They choose not to monitor tweets; some are still more concerned about what is being said above the fold on the front page of Sports or in a Gossip column on page D6. Wake up! Communication has changed…your clients have changed…times have changed…Public Relations has changed. The only thing left that needs to change is your attitude. If you refuse to monitor your clients’ social media empires, or at least prep accordingly, you are inevitably setting yourself, your firm, your label and your client up for an embarrassing and sloppy ordeal.

And with that, I transition into the Best and Worst Celebrity Tweeter for 2010. My opinions are based solely on the value of tweets, the ability to avoid conflict and the sincerity of the message.

WORST: Oh Chris, Chris, Chris (@ChrisBrown)…we can’t take you anywhere, can we? Why do you insist on being baited time and time again through Social Media altercations and “beefs?”  More importantly, why does your management insist on allowing you to maintain personal supervision of your social media domain? You’ve proven multiple times that you do not possess the maturity, let alone aptitude, to handle such a large brand image. As most of you probably know, Brown was baited yet again during a Twitter battle with former B2K singer, Raz B, last night. Raz B’s initial tweet said:

“Im just sittin here Thinking how can ni**as like @ebenet & @ChrisBrown disrespect women as Intelligent as @HalleBerry11@Rihanna

This simple tweet started a blaze of drama thanks to members of #TeamBreezy, who should’ve been reading books instead. Brown reacted the way any insulted, self-conscious, overweight girl would have:

“@razb2k ni**a you want attention! Grow up ni**a!!! D**k in da booty a** lil boy”

In all reality, Raz B’s approach was far from bad-mannered. There was no mention of domestic violence, no trace of a low blow. As I watched the argument continue, I was shocked when no one from management intervened in the immature battle of wits (or lack thereof). Brown continued to battle Raz B with homosexual slurs and obscenities. Backed against a wall, Raz B responded with several low blows, citing Brown as a #womenbeater (I think he meant #womAnbeater).  As of today, I was further taken aback when all Tweets remained posted (although the damage was already done).

Brown has confirmed, for what I think should be the final time, that he needs immediate supervision when dealing with internet affairs. He is the definition of Social Media Nightmare.

BEST: From rags to riches to prison to rags to riches, Michael Vick is, what some consider, the best comeback story in sports history. While you don’t have to agree with his past actions, as a PR professional, you cannot overlook his tweets. Best Tweeter for 2010 (surprisingly to people who know me, I’m sure) has to go to Eagles Quarterback, #7, (@MikeVick).

There is nothing more respectable than a notorious football player who has learned how to speak with media and represent himself professionally. Once a player who proudly displayed his middle fingers to Atlanta Falcons fans after a loss, Vick has (not so quickly) learned how to approach media and keep fans happy. Continually tweeting to a new band of followers, Vick genuinely enjoys connecting with his supporters while he and his team march forward toward playoff competition.  Certainly not a stranger to controversy, he has yet to engage in an internet scuffle with rabid reporters or non-supporters.

Even after a tough loss, Vick maintained his composure and tweeted:

“Understanding failure helps you appreciate success !”

Short, simple, sweet. No angry messages, no sore loser status. He didn’t bash teammates or coaches – in all, it is the perfect message to send followers after a loss that left a sour taste in the mouths of many fans.

While I certainly cannot condone the past four years, I have to respect the guy for realizing what separates boys from men, minor leagues from major leagues and any other overused phrase you can imagine.

Respectability and responsibility – that is all it takes.