The Buzz by Mike Schaffer - PR, Social Media, Pop Culture and Sports

Buzz, PR, Sports

October 30, 2009

PR Buzz – The Washington Football Mess

Tags: nfl, , PR advice, PR tips, redskins, Sports, washington redskins

True fact – while I am a die-hard Baltimore Ravens fan, it wasn’t always this way.

Growing up between Baltimore and Washington in the early 1980s, there was only one option for football, one I inherited from my family, the Washington Redskins.  The Colts Mayflowered their way out of Baltimore when I was an infant and the Redskins were a machine!

With Coach Joe Gibbs, owner Jack Kent Cooke and a stable roster of players, they were a premier organization in the NFL.

When the Ravens came to Charm City in 1996, I took them as my AFC team.  Slowly, I shed the pretense of having two favorite teams.

Check the Twitter icon – it’s got the Ravens tattooed on it!

Fast forward a dozen years and the Redskins are a team in turmoil.

Hall of Famer John Riggins has made his anger known!

Let’s bullet-point the big points this year:

  • Record: 2-5
  • Coach Jim Zorn was publicly stripped of his offensive playcalling duties
  • Those playcalling duties are in the hands of a man who, just 4 weeks ago, was a bingo caller at a retirement home
  • The top two offensive linemen are injured.  Randy Thomas AGAIN and Chris Samuels might be forced to retire
  • The man in charge of player acquisitions didn’t prepare for this, even though he said he anticipated both injuries
  • “Stud” running back Clinton Portis isn’t producing
  • The team sued an elderly grandmother who had trouble paying her season ticket bill because of the recession (they later dropped the charges, but the PR damage was done)
  • The media is no longer allowed to interview FANS anywhere on stadium ground, including pregame tailgate parties
  • Signs are all banned – even the one from a woman trying to send a message to her husband who is serving in Afghanistan
  • T-shirts critical of ownership are banned
  • When a radio station tried to organize a “fans-only” rally in a parking lot by the stadium, the team BOUGHT that parking lot and cancelled the event
  • In the off-season, they publicly attempted to trade their starting quarterback…and failed…leaving the man they obviously didn’t want taking snaps
  • Their new defensive stud has a reputation for not giving 100% most of the time…and he is criticizing the team’s effort
  • A preseason player posted on Twitter that all Redskin fans work at McDonald’s flippin’ burgers
  • None of their 2008 draft picks have had any meaningful impact in 18 games
  • Hall of Fame RB John Riggins posted a mega negative rant on YouTube

Basically, this all adds up to a huge disaster of epic PR proportions!

How do you go about fixing it??

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