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Baylor hires PR firm to advocate for Playoff spot

Baylor hires PR firm to advocate for Playoff spot | PR in Sports |
Baylor has hired a PR firm to advocate for a College Football Playoff spot.
Andrew Maas's insight:

Baylor  hired a PR firm to advocate for a  spot in the College Football Playoff system this season.


A representative from Kevin Sullivan Communications came forth stating that they were hired last week to make a case for Baylor over other playoff hopefuls such as stout college football programs Ohio State and Florida State, as well as TCU. 


By hiring this PR firm, Baylor is using bolstering in a way, even though Baylor is not held responsible for any negative connotations the way that PR professionals usually think of negativity, they are when it comes to vying for a college football playoff berth. The firm was hired in order to bolster Baylor's resume. By doing so, they are also using differentiation by trying to sway the commitee's mind by gauging their resume versus OSU, TCU and FSU's resumes and pointing out the flaws of theirs and glorifying their strong points while mitigating their flaws in return.


Baylor is 10-1 and  was ranked number 7 in last week's playoff committee rankings, at the time they hired Kevin Sullivan Communications.


TCU, who   also finished 10-1 in the Big 12 but lost to Baylor 61-58 in October, is ranked two spots higher at No. 5.


The Big 12 does not have a conference championship like all other power conferences, due to the fact that they recently lost two teams, thus ending that tradition.

 Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby stated on Monday the conference would present Baylor and TCU as co-champions should both teams win this weekend. 


If Baylor and TCU are left out of the top four playoff spots,  Big 12 would then recognize the Bears' win over the Horned Frogs because displaced conference champions are guaranteed spots in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, Vizio Fiesta Bowl and Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.


Earlier Monday, Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw said he believes the Bears have a stronger resume than the Horned Frogs. He stated his case mentioning that Baylor would be Big 12 co-champion with a tiebreaker over TCU. Baylor also has  three top-15-quality wins. Plus Baylor would have the strongest resume among those under consideration. He goes on to mention that the whole concept of a playoff is determining a champion on the field. If it's on the merits of what was done on the field you would think if there's already been a game it should weigh heavily.


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Bears, Marshall differ over Twitter boxing bet

Chicago Bears receiver Brandon Marshall said Friday that his back-and-forth on Twitter with a Detroit Lions fan about staging a boxing match for $25,000 is an opportunity to raise money to combat bullying.
Andrew Maas's insight:

Chicago Bears' wide receiver Brandon Marshall claims that his back and forth gaffes on Twitter with a Detroit Lions' fan about staging a boxing match for $25,000 was merely a way  to raise money to combat bullying.


The Bears humiliated the Lions on Thanksgiving day which brought about this controversial back and forth of words via Twitter. Marshall did not think before he spoke and kept digging an even bigger hole and then tried to spin the whole situation into a positive light by stating that the event he planned to hold was to combat bullying, thus using motives and intentions to sway the audience's opinion on what he did.


When asked about the situation, Marshall made light of it all and brushed it off like it was insignificant. He chalked it up to just engaging with fans and using it as entertainment and saw nothing wrong with his actions. He even goes on to ask, "What's the big deal?" By saying this, Marshall is using minimization to act like nothing he did was even remotely wrong.


After the incident, Bears' general manager Phil Emery told  Marshall  to read his contract, because there is an outlined policy forbidding certain foolish behavior such as this on social networking sites. Bears' coach Marc Trestman claims that not every little thing can be outlined in a policy but that they try to get their players to focus as much on the field with as few off field distractions as they can.


Marshall's initial challenge was $5,000 wager and later posted that if he lost, he'd give up another $10,000, but if Marshall won, the fan would have to serve 100 hours at an orphanage.


The Lions fan upped the ante, saying that if Marshall made the bet $25,000, the two could fight in Detroit.


Fan said that if the Bears won 3 more games that the event would happen. Marshall also reiterated that as a stipulation, that the fan must apologize to Marshall's mother for the crude comments that he made.


Marshall said that timing doesn't matter and that he is a grown man and despite the fact that the Bears were 3-6 at the time of the incident that he is not going to change who he is. By acknowledging the situation of his team versus his antics, he is using transcendence to try and get people to rationalize that no matter what situation his professional career may be in, he will not change the person that he is.

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GM rallies around its #ChevyGuy 'and stuff'

GM rallies around its #ChevyGuy 'and stuff' | PR in Sports |
Shortly before 9 a.m. on the day after the worst night of his life, Rikk Wilde got the phone call from his big boss at General Motors.
Andrew Maas's insight:

Rikk Wilde, now known across the country as the "Chevy Guy", spoke to boss at General Motors the morning after the biggest on camera blunder of his life time.  Wilde could not articulate what he wanted to say, while he was presenting the keys to a brand new pick up truck to  World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner, following game 7

Chevrolet vice president Brian Sweeney, made it known to Wilde that he would not be fired. Wilde, who is a zone manager and liaison between GM and its vehicle dealerships in the Kansas City area. 


GM spokesman Michael Albano is on the record defensing Wilde by stating,  “He was on message. The truck has technology and stuff. We will use that term and stuff.”-


"The Chevy leadership team called and told him he did nothing wrong. It's all good. Everyone here has his back," said Albano. Chevy used minimization to not only minimize the negative effects of what he said, but they spun it all around to make his actions uplifting and even give them a hashtag to use when promoting their new midsize truck.


Wilde,  who is a lifelong Royals' fan, got the nod for the postgame interview  from GM, because he's a good employee and loves baseball. He had  hoped that he'd get to give keys to a new Chevrolet Colorado to someone on the home town Royals, but instead it went to the San Francisco Giants  ace Bumgarner. By discussing this, they are essentially chalking his verbal blunder up to being an accident, because he was caught off guard by the fact that the Giants won. Since Wilde is a lifelong Royals' fan, he became flustered having to present the vehicle to a player on the other team and that led to his verbal miscues and nothing else. By doing this, it lessens the offensiveness overall of the action.


Wilde had practiced what he was going to say and was ready to introduce GM's newest product, and he even brought notes just in case he forgot something.


He was sweating profusely as he started to speak and he was completely out of breath. Wilde stumbled over his words and had to look to his notes.Then out of nowhere he just started shooting from the hip, making up whatever came to mind and he blurted out, "It combines class-winning and leading, you know, technology and stuff, with Wi-Fi powered by OnStar."

#Technologyandstuff was even trending on Twitter, so was #ChevyGuy. People were ripping into Wilde while at the same time taking it all in stride. It brought attention to their new product, just not in the way that Wilde and the people at Chevy had initially planned for the presentation to do so.


"We saw quickly the 'technologyandstuff' tagline kind of take off and start to trend," Albano said. "That's when you realize that you have something there that you might want to embrace."


GM had an even bigger opening to promote its new midsize pickup truck because Wilde drew an overwhelming amount of attention to the usually blip in a pan MVP presentation.


Chevy even used #technologyandstuff hashtag, linking it to an ad, further bridging the gap between the gaffe on t.v. and their new product that they are promoting.


"He was on message," Albano said. "The truck has technology and stuff. We will use that term and stuff." At the end Albano uses transcendence trying to act like Wilde was being awe-inspiring with his message and instead of just forgetting what he was going to say that he was truly being a pioneer and defining what the truck actually stands for.

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Danny Ferry, Atlanta Hawks GM, disciplined for racially charged comments

Danny Ferry, Atlanta Hawks GM, disciplined for racially charged comments | PR in Sports |
Investigation of Danny Ferry's comments about Luol Deng uncovered racially inflammatory email written by co-owner Bruce Levenson
Andrew Maas's insight:

Atlanta Hawks' general manager Danny Ferry made racist remarks about then free agent swingman Luol Deng.


Steve Koonin, the Hawks' CEO,  disciplined Ferry for his comments that he made to the ownership group in June, when the Hawks were in pursuit of trying to land Deng.


 Michael Gearon Jr., who is a co-owner of the Atlanta Hawks, quoted  Ferry as saying to the ownership group that Deng, "has a little African in him." Deng was born in Sudan and raised in England.


Gearon's letter to co-owner Bruce Levenson said Ferry said, "Not in a bad way, but he's like a guy who would have a nice store out front and sell you counterfeit stuff out of the back." Ferry then  implied that all persons of African descent are two-faced liars and cheats. Gearon recommended to Levenson that Ferry resign or be fired. Gearon said he and the other co-owners were appalled that anyone would make such a racist slur under any circumstance, much less the GM of an NBA franchise on a major conference call. Gearon stated that he knew if Ferry's comments leaked that it could be damaging to the entire organization.


I think that Gearon vaguely wanted to use defeasibility. If Levenson had initially listened to Ferry and they had found a loophole to sever ties with him, then if the racist remarks were to surface later on, they could plead ignorance to it all. They could then say that they had no control over what was said or done because they had no way of knowing what Ferry was like because he was no longer in the organization, therefore not tarnishing the Hawks' brand.


Hawks spokesman Garin Narain said team's investigation of Ferry's comments uncovered a racist email written two years ago by Levenson, which then led to Levenson announcing that he will sell his controlling share of the Hawks.


Ferry apologized for his remarks but stated that  he  only repeated comments he had heard about Deng from numerous other people. Ferry used scapegoating here, from the A Theory of Image Restoration readings, to try and show that he only said what he did because a lot of other people in or around the Hawks' organization had made similar racial remarks when it comes to Luol Deng.


Gearon said that Ferry's comments were similar to the ones made by Donald Sterling, who was forced to sell the Clippers due to racist comments that he made.


Gearon said that Ferry's comments were much worse than Sterling's because they were not private, but rather in a business meeting in front of a large group of people. 


Ferry pledged he would learn from the incident. Ferry uses corrective action here by reiterating that he has learned from his past mistakes and that he will work towards not making the same mistakes again.



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Johnny Manziel Flips The Bird To The Redskins’ Bench [VIDEO] - CBS Detroit

Johnny Manziel Flips The Bird To The Redskins’ Bench [VIDEO] - CBS Detroit | PR in Sports |
If the Cleveland Browns pick a quarterback based solely on numbers, there's not much either Johnny Manziel or Brian Hoyer did to show he deserves the job.
Andrew Maas's insight:

          During a pre-season game vs the Washington Redskins, Johnny Manziel flipped the bird to the Redskins' bench. Redskins' linebacker Brian Orakpo mocked Manziel by doing Manziel's signature money gesture, after he was sacked by Washington's Ryan Kerrigan, so Manziel lost his cool and decided to flip off the entire Washington bench.

           Manziel used scapegoating blaming all of the outside distractions including the taunting by Washington's players and fans. He evaded responsibility but then went on to say, "I need to be smarter."

            Browns' coach Mike Pettine, amid a current quarterback conundrum, was very disappointed in Manziel's actions. Teammate Joe Haden basically stated that Manziel has to let it go in one ear and out the other and that he cannot let it get to him.

             The league fined Manziel $12,000 for his gesture, however the Browns didn't make any other disciplinary measures for his action, although they did name Brian Hoyer the starting quarterback for week 1, although Hoyer was assumed to be the Browns' starting quarterback even before Manziel's inmature actions took place.

               Manziel also used corrective action, letting people know that he is not in college anymore and that he needs to grow up. He understands how his antics come off to other teams, fans, league personnel and even to his own teammates and he wants to re-write his image. Although, in my eyes his corrective action can be perceived as extremely insincere since he keeps making mistakes dating back to his college career at Texas A&M. He will make a careless decision, then insincerely apologize for it just to save face, but then continue to mess up time and time again.

                  While a few people in the NFL, such as Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones, are un-phased by Manziel's personality, his image as perceived by everyone else is that of a little kid who will not ever grow up and mature and become a prototypical pocket passer and leader in the NFL. Jones however keeps telling the media how he is extremely disappointed in himself that he did not pick Manziel with the Cowboys' 1st round pick in May's draft. Jones however values Manziel more for the revenue he would produce, more so than his abilities on the field. Manziel has been a fan favorite for a few years now, even being coined Johnny Football while in college, but that type of gimmick only gets you so far in the NFL.

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StL Police Officers Association condemns Rams display

StL Police Officers Association condemns Rams display | PR in Sports |
The St. Louis Police Officers Association has released a statement condemning the St. Louis Rams football players who entered the field displaying the "hands up don't shoot" pose.
Andrew Maas's insight:

St. Louis Police Officers Association released a statement condemning St. Louis Rams players who entered the field displaying the "hands up don't shoot" pose, in response to the Michael Brown/Darren Wilson case. Many members of the St. Louis Rams, as well as other players across the National Football League, felt insulted and belittled as African American males when officer Darren Wilson was found not guilty. Rams' players did what they did as a form of peaceful protest, to show their disgust towards the entire situation. It all became a black and white thing, instead of a people thing and Rams did not handle the situation in the best way possible. They just caved to appease the authorities without defending their players' right to a peaceful protest and freedom of speech.


A spokesman for the St. Louis Rams says the team was unaware of the demonstration before the game. The Rams used defeasibility to wipe their hands clean of the situation. How could they stop the players from acting out the way they did if they did not know  about it. 


Roorda was livid that the Rams and the NFL would tolerate this behavior and called it remarkably hypocritical. He said that Rams and NFL personnel were glorifying the STL PD all week, just to belittle it by the actions of these players.


People within the St. Louis Police Department went on to act like their side of the story is the only side that matters and that nothing that the players feel matters. They talked about the "mountain of evidence" proving Darren Wilson's innocence and completely disregarded the feelings of anyone else. The Rams completely played into their irrational sense of "logic" with their apologies  to try and coexist but did not defend their players in the ways that they should have in my opinion.


The Rams  went on to talk about how they will continue to build on strong and valued relationships with local police officers in the St. Louis area. In turn Rams sway towards mortification in a way because they ask for forgiveness, do not shy away from the fact that what the Rams' players did, happened but also at the same time want to move past it and hope to seek the forgiveness of not only the local police officers in the St. Louis area, but also ask for forgiveness from Rams' fans and people in the St. Louis area who were also hurt by it.

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Maybe You Shouldn't Thank This Specific Follower, Patriots?

Maybe You Shouldn't Thank This Specific Follower, Patriots? | PR in Sports |
To celebrate the utterly useless "accomplishment" of being the first NFL team with one million Twitter followers, the Patriots are creating custom avatar jerseys for anybody who retweets this tweet.
Andrew Maas's insight:

The New England Patriots wanted to do something special for when they became the first team in the National Football League to reach one million followers.


Someone within their social media department decided that it would be a good idea to send out personalized tweets to anyone of their followers that also retweeted a special tweet congratulating the Patriots on reaching the million follower milestone. Although, apparently they left this up to an automated system to deliver the personalized tweets.


While most of the personalized tweets to their fans and followers were harmless, one of the personalized tweets  was to someone with a Twitter handle of @IHateN*****s, except without the censorship.


Boston sports teams and fans have a long listed history as being an extremely racist sports' town, so when the media grabs hold of a situation like this it becomes even more touchy than had it been done in another town. Although, it obviously is a serious accident no matter what sports' team's Twitter page happened to do this.


It took the Patriots almost two whole hours to delete this tweet, while in the meantime, it caught on via Twitter like wild fire. People were RTing it left and right making a mockery of how careless this mistake seemed, all the while the Patriots and their internal social media department personnel sat on their hands without acknowledging or acting on their slip up.


While the tweet stayed up for awhile, they did respond after a mere 27 minutes. They tweeted, "We apologize for the regrettable tweet that went out from our account. Our filtering system failed & we will be more vigilant in the future." The Patriots used denial to state that they did not do this and that their filtering system was the reason that the tweet was sent out and so they shifted the blame to that.


Patriots also evaded responsibility to a degree because they claimed the whole thing was an accident and used defeasibility to claim that they had no control over what happened.


The Patriots got to the situation in a relatively timely manner. They handled the situation about as well as they could have but at the same time the initial tweet should have been deleted a lot sooner than it was but at the rate information travels via social media, people had already screenshot the tweet so at that point deleting the tweet was more or less futile.

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RB Randle to pitch underwear after arrest

In the span of less than a week, Cowboys running back Joseph Randle has gone from stealing underwear to becoming a spokesman for it.
Andrew Maas's insight:

Less than a week after getting caught stealing underwear and cologne from a Dillard's department store in Frisco, Texas, Cowboys' back up running back Joseph Randle  is becoming a spokesman for an underwear company.


MeUndies is going to pay Randle enough to pay off the $29,500 fine the Cowboys penalized him with for his off field legal troubles. 

Randle was charged with a misdemeanor Class B theft of $50 to $500. The Cowboys fined Randle one full game check, which was the maximum that they could with the current CBA that is in place.


Randle used a form of compensation of sorts by saying, "Partnering with MeUndies allows me the opportunity to give back to others less fortunate than myself, and spread a positive message of not making the same mistake twice." 

Randle  will be donating  $15,000 worth of underwear and basic apparel to children in need and making multiple appearances at schools in the Dallas area and charities to speak to students about learning from their mistakes. "As a young company, MeUndies is faced with difficult challenges all the time. It's up to us to turn a negative situation into a positive one, almost on a daily basis. How you learn from your mistakes fast is how you find success in our business and those lessons are applicable in all walks of life." Said King: "We told Joseph that if he was willing to take responsibility for his actions, apologize, and take action, we would donate $15K worth of product that he could give back to his community -- so that's what we plan to do." 

 By doing this, Randle is essentially bribing the community with goods. The people that care the most about him, are the fans in the local Dallas area, so by donating these material possessions to these people, it should bolster his overall image.


MeUndies and King reached out to Randle's agent when they first heard about Randle's mistake. They wanted to to make the lesson Randle learned a positive one for others.  "Joseph felt the need to turn a negative situation into a positive and teamed up with MeUndies to give back to his community and help families in need," stated King


Randle also used mortification by saying,  "There is no excuse for my mistake last week, and I take full responsibility for my actions. I let down my coaches, teammates and family. My agent and I have spent a lot of time looking for ways I can turn my situation into a learning experience for young people." Randle owned up to committing the crime and took responsibility for his actions and essentially asked for forgiveness from everyone. By getting out in front of the situation, he was able to lessen the negative ramifications of his action and hopefully be able to fix what he did before it completely destroyed his image long term.


"Everybody deserves a second chance because people make mistakes. We want to help him put his best foot forward, so he can get back to setting a good example for the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys, and the kids who look up to him." MeUndies helps Randle use corrective action by claiming to become the best person he can and give back to the people in the community and fix the mistake he made.

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Jaguars apologize for mascot's Ebola sign

The Jacksonville Jaguars have apologized for their mascot using the Ebola epidemic to mock the Pittsburgh Steelers' Terrible Towels on Sunday.
Andrew Maas's insight:

During the Steelers at Jaguars' game on Sunday October 5th, the Jacksonville Jags' mascot Jaxson de Ville, held up a terrible towel which is something that Steelers' fan wave at every game and then held a handmade sign in his other hand that read "Towels Carry Ebola".


Curtis Dvorak, the man inside the suit,  has been playing de Ville since the mascot's inception in 1996. A picture of the mascot holding the sign exploded all over social media on Sunday night.


Obviously, this is crossing the line. Ebola has caused over 3,000 known deaths and there have been nearly 8,000 probable, confirmed or suspected cases of the disease in the African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. This sign touched even closer to home for some folks, because of the episode that recently went down in Dallas where the person was infected with ebola. So on a time sensitive scale, this was horrible.


Jaxson de Ville  made the sign as a mockery towards the Steelers' terrible towels. Every fanbase has their own ways of mocking terrible towels, because frankly a large majority of football fans, think they're really stupid. However de Ville's antics were not comical to many people who heard what he did.


 The Jaguars  apologized for Jaxson de Ville's actions. Most notably Mark Lamping, the Jaguars president, said no one associated with the team knew about what Jaxson de Ville was going to do  prior to him doing it and he is handling the matter internally.


"Improvisation and humor have both been key elements to the character of Jaxson de Ville, especially when he performs at home games," Lamping said. "On Sunday, the person who has played Jaxson de Ville over the past 20 seasons made an extremely poor decision in that regard. The team was unaware of this inappropriate sign, which was hand-made by Jaxson during the fourth quarter of yesterday's game, until after it had been displayed. We are handling the matter internally and taking it very seriously. We extend our sincerest apologies to anyone who was offended."


The Jaguars' president used defeasibility, as discussed in the Image Restoration Theory reading,  in this situation because he claims that himself nor anyone else in the Jags' organization knew about what de Ville was going to do. He also plans to use corrective action by handling the situation internally to make sure that de Ville never does this again. He lets everyone know that they are taking it very seriously and apologizes to anyone who was offended by it as well.  Lamping also used bolstering by talking about how improvisation and humor are key elements to the character of Jaxson de Ville especially at games thus trying to take the negative connotations away from what de Ville did. He makes sure that people realize that Jaxson de Ville is supposed to be a gimmick and tries to lessen the blow and value de Ville as more of a character and side attraction rather than actually being a person that should be held accountable for their actions.




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Will NFL act?

Will NFL act? | PR in Sports |
Will NFL act? (CBS News)
Andrew Maas's insight:

             Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount, the top two running backs atop the Pittsburgh Steelers' depth chart got arrested together for possession of marijuana. Bell also got a DUI for driving while high. While Blount stayed relatively quiet about the issue, Bell took the opposite route. Bell's first response to his arrest was a tweet he sent out that simply stated, "man sometimes, it is what it is...". An extremely lackadaisical approach. Bell then went on to use minimization and defeasibility by further saying "I didn't know that you could get a DUI for being high."

             Bell talked about how he had not smoked in 2 hours prior to operating the car and that he had a plane to catch because he had to play a game the next day and tried to lessen his responsibility by stating that he didn't realize you could get a DUI for being high but kept on trying to evade responsibility. To my knowledge, the Steelers never spoke out much about the allegations.

         The league has yet to hand out punishments to either Bell or Blount and there's a chance that neither of them ever serve a suspension for this. Neither of them has been busted with possession. While the current CBA states that first time offenders would eventually get a 2 game suspension, the league and player's association are working on re-writing the drug policies currently in place under the current CBA.

           If the new amendment to the CBA goes into effect then it is likely that not only will stars like Josh Gordon, Wes Welker and Robert Mathis, who are all currently serving their suspensions for failing the league's drug test, have their suspensions lifted, but it would also make it so that those awaiting suspensions like Bell and Blount and any player who messes up in the future would get off without any type of punishment from the league.

            Players past and present do not take the drug policies seriously because they do not consider playing football and job and think they are above the rules. Dwayne Bowe of the Chiefs got busted almost a year ago with weed possession and his suspension just started a few days ago.

             The system's flawed and instead of making the league's rules stricter, the NFL is instead going to do the exact opposite and loosen the reigns and by the sound of it there is a very real possibility that they abolish the league's current drug policy entirely because they know there will always be a lot of players who refuse to adhere to it anyways and at the end of the day the NFL is a business that only cares about the all mighty dollar.

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