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Blue the Q with the Cleveland Cavaliers

March 15, 2011

On March 27, the Cleveland Cavaliers will take on the Atlanta Hawks … and autism. There are prizes to be handed out all night long, but be sure to wear blue in support of the Cavs AND those affected by Autism. 6 dollars from every ticket purchased will be donated to Autism Speaks and the Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism. For your chance to get in on the Autism Awareness Night festivities, visit

www.theqarena.com/groups/autism.

For a full story click here:

Autism Awareness Night with the Cleveland Cavaliers Press Release

Here’s to More Birthdays

September 29, 2010

Cheers to the NFL for partnering with the American Cancer Society American Cancer Society Logoin the More Birthdays Movement. As far as I’m concerned, this is one of the best PR moves an organization can make, partnering with such a well-known and well-respected association. Way to reach out and touch the lives of fans and soon-to-be fans NFL! Ingenious move to both expand and maintain your market by improving your image.

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

Starting this weekend (Sunday Oct. 2), NFL players will be “making strides against breast cancer” for the whole month of October. By wearing pink, tweeting, sponsoring commercials, and more, NFL players, cheerleaders, and the league as a whole will be working to raise awareness about breast cancer and the importance of breast cancer screening. And on this note, cheers to the individual players who go above and beyond to contribute to the cause. Check out this PSA from Larry Fitzgerald:

Why Breast Cancer?

The answer is simple. 44% of NFL fans are female and that number is growing. To take advantage of this growing market, the NFL has been turning its marketing efforts towards women. Why then, would the NFL choose to promote awareness of any other cancer? Great tactical planning NFL! You reach out to that untapped market!

NFL Fights Breast Cancer Logo

Help Us Fight It.

How to Get Involved:

Join your favorite NFL team to create a world with less breast cancer and more birthdays this coming weekend. Simply pledge to donate $1 for every point your team scores on October 2 or 3. It’s as simple as point and click. So, go ahead. What are you waiting for? Let’s come together as sports fans and athletes to kick cancer to the curb. With that being said, here’s to more birthdays sports fans!

I’m Still Here!

August 19, 2010

Hey readers! I haven’t kicked it, don’t bail on me yet! I’ve got some great things to comment on here in the very near future. Stop by soon to see what sports sass I have stashed up for you.

Sleep Well, Cleveland

July 14, 2010

Gilbert’s goof has been put to rest


Dan Gilbert

https:/.../about/press-room/ management-profiles

I know, I know… all of my blogs have seemed to relate to the Cleveland Cavaliers lately. But that’s not all my fault! When an organization gives you great material to work with, how can you turn away? I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but the subject of this week’s discussion: (I bet you guessed it) Dan Gilbert and his unexpected outburst after LeBron’s big “Decision.”

The Letter

Gilbert’s letter, which has recently been removed from the Cavaliers website, was addressed to “Cleveland, All Of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Cavaliers Supporters Wherever You May Be Tonight.” Written in the heat of the moment, the letter begins by addressing the “bitter disappointment” that LeBron James was no long a Cleveland Cavalier.

It goes on to bring up the subject of betrayal, cowardice, selfishness, and shame. Anyone read my last blog post? Yes, well I hate to say it (actually no, not really), but I told you so! Announcing that decision on national television in a big, blow-out of a production, conveyed disrespect to the Cavaliers, to his fans, and to the rest of the NBA teams vying for his contract.

Apparently taking this utter disrespect to heart, Gilbert himself felt the need to take a stab (and I’m being generous by calling it ONE stab) at LeBron. A couple of Dan’s comments thrown in LeBron’s direction:

  • “Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there”
  • “This shocking act of disloyalty from our home-grown “chosen one” sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And “who” we would want them to grow-up to become.”
  • “The self-declared former “King” will be taking the “curse” with him down south. And until he does “right” by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.”

The Statements

If you haven’t read it yet, you might be asking, “Any good news in the letter?” Well Cleveland Fans, you better believe it. According to Gilbert, the focus of the Cavaliers franchise lies on one goal and one goal only: “DELIVERING YOU the championship you have long deserved and is long overdue.” That’s quite a loaded statement, Dan. You’ve got some big hopes to fulfill now. And if you don’t deliver, you may just be the next Cleveland heartbreaker in line behind LeBron.

"The most passionate man in sports"

mikeclose.wordpress.com/ 2009/03/

I wouldn’t be too worried about that, though. It seems as though you’ve got your franchise (and the fans) behind you. At least Cavaliers general manager, Chris Grant, and Cavaliers head coach, Byron Scott are declared to be. They explain Gilbert to be “the most passionate man in sports” who “wants to win.” Both men stood by Dan’s ‘act of passion’ and look forward to the coming season. I wonder if they foresee any more passionate explosions from Gilbert? My recommendation for the franchise and the fans:  fasten your seat belts and enjoy the ride (seems as though it’s sure to be a long one).

The Consequences

No ‘good dead’ goes unpunished, right Dan? No matter how positive his intentions might have been, the NBA did not find Gilbert’s letter innocent enough to be left alone. David Stern, commissioner of the NBA, who did not agree with LeBron’s execution of “The Decision” either, made this statement in regard to Gilbert’s letter: “I think that remarks by Dan Gilbert, the owner of the Cavaliers, catalyzed as they may have been by hurt with respect to the manner and the fact for himself, his team, and particularly for the people of Cleveland, though understandable, were ill-advised and imprudent.” As a result of Gilbert’s outburst, Cleveland was fined $100,000 by Stern and the NBA.

Great PR Move, Dan?

Honestly, no. Act of passion or not, the owner of an organization, especially such a prestigious one as the Cavaliers, should be able to hold his tongue. Yes, it fed right into what fans were thinking. Yes, it has everyone talking. Yes, it probably made LeBron feel like the suddenly selfish punk he is. But the humor and ‘bite’ of the letter were completely unprofessional. A well thought out statement, proofread by a PR representative, would have been a much more effective way of communicating this passionate owner’s feelings and goals.

What I do think was a great crisis management move on behalf of the Cavaliers? Gilbert’s new statement posted to the Cavaliers website . In it, Gilbert thanks the people of Cleveland for offering to help pay for his NBA fine. I must say, ingenious PR move to graciously thank these die-hard fans, but ask them to redirect their money to the Cavaliers Youth Fund. Dan my dear, you’ve done a great job of bringing philanthropy to the forefront of the remedy to your widespread social “mishap” (it’s really too bad that I just can’t say the same for Mr. James).

Sleep Well, Cleveland

Guaranteed championship for Cleveland, eh?

tipsanddrills.com/ basketball/

Dan Gilbert has made this promise to the people of Cleveland (and the millions of other readers of his letter):

“I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING’ WINS ONE”

While most are hoping he lives up to this promise (myself included), I find myself as an aspiring PR professional spending more of my time hoping that Gilbert and other franchise owners have learned their lessons about acts of passion. Us PR reps work morning, noon, and night to keep things going in the right direction, but we could use a little help from you, guys! We’ll say it in advance, take our sanity as our thanks. Right PR folks 🙂 ?

“The [Ignorant] Decision”

July 8, 2010

LeBron announces his big career move… on live TV?!

What person in their right mind thought up the brilliant idea to let the announcement of what seems to be the biggest decision since whether or not to go to war after 9/11 be announced LIVE on NATIONAL TELEVISION?! You’re telling me that some PR professional thought that this would be a good move? I can tell you that I certainly would not be dishing out this recommendation, and would be rather ticked (for lack of a better word) as an athlete if this was the advice that my big bucks paid for. LeBron, you could have gotten better PR advice from a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

“The Decision,” an hour-long (really, is this necessary?) television special, will air live tomorrow on ESPN at 9 p.m. In my professional opinion, this is one of the most ignorant career moves LeBron could ever make from a public relations standpoint. Granted, you’re guaranteed to get great viewership, LeBron. After all, as I could not have said it better than Mike Wise with the Washington Post, “the NBA version of “The Bachelor” finale” has reeled a reality-TV-obsessed population into the drama of the LeBron saga (a saga more drawn out than all of the Star Wars episodes and versions COMBINED).

Why This is Going to be a PR Nightmare

First of all, LeBron is planning to make his announcement in the first ten minutes of the airing. If you are planning on holding the attention of your viewers for the entire hour, you better have a strip tease or something planned, LeBron. Have you learned nothing from the drama of the reality shows that have gone before yours? Even the always-anxious Bachelorette won’t give away her last rose before the last 2 minutes of her hour-long block. Do you not own a TV, or are you too caught up in yourself to think about the big picture?

Second on my list of nightmare-causing issues (and I’ll leave it at this because this one takes not just a piece of cake, but the whole honking thing): Announcement made at 9:09 p.m., national meltdown begins in 3… 2… 1…

Across the nation, teams and fans alike will be on the edge of their seats tomorrow awaiting LeBron’s decision. After working so hard to bring “the King” to their individual cities, who can blame them? Once you’ve made the announcement-heard-round-the-world, LeBron, Congratulations! You’ve now got one city on your side and the rest of the nation so bitter that they are wanting to spit on you. Way to slap millions of people in the face simultaneously! Maybe, if you’re basketball career is indeed ruined by your poor image management skills, you can look to make a career out of that.

What LeBron’s Reps Are Saying

Maverick Carter, CEO of LRMR Marketing made the announcement about “The [Ignorant] Decision.” I think it is fair to assume he was at least part of this ‘ingenious’ operation.

Here’s what he said to explain this potentially fatal career move: “Due to the unprecedented attention and interest surrounding LeBron’s decision, we have decided to make this announcement on national television. By doing so we have generated funds that will be given to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. LeBron has a longstanding commitment to giving back to the community, and has worked with the Boys and Girls Clubs in cities across the country.”

This is your justification? For taking the easy way out? That the fiasco generated funds for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America?

What about the boys and girls of America that are going to be crushed in a matter of moments when their hero makes an announcement in a brutal, in-your-face manner? Will LeBron be helping them then?

What I’m Saying

Are you ready for the storm, LeBron?

OK, so don’t get me wrong here. I think that LeBron has done great work with the Boys and Girls Club as well as a number of causes he continues to support. He is a significant contributor to the community. However, I think he is sadly misguided on his PR moves. Somewhere along the way, someone is giving him the wrong advice. I hope whoever it is, is well-versed in crisis management. He/she is headed for a hurricane of a storm.

If you don’t agree with my opinions, that’s fine. Let me know how you feel… I’d revel in a little academic debate 🙂 And if you’d like to check out some other cynical blogging, check out this post that I found humorous AND credible (a few of my favorite things).

From Dogfights to Gunshots: How to Kiss Your Career Goodbye

July 1, 2010

Michael Vick in trouble with the law again? No way!

Michael VickWell Ladies and Gentleman, he’s done it again. NFL quarterback Michael Vick has yet again earned a spot in the negative lime light of the media for being mixed up in crime. Only this time his crime ranks more severe and he has more on the line if he’s convicted. Like his career, for instance. Nothing too major, right? (I did mention my love for sarcasm, yes?)

Since receiving a prison sentence of 23 months for financing a dogfighting ring in 2007, Vick’s room for error with the NFL and the police is very limited. His probation restrictions include that he cannot associate with other felons. Strange is it then that Vick is under investigation for the shooting of Quanis Phillips, a co-defendant of Vick during his 2007 conviction for dogfighting. Even stranger is it that the shooting happened outside of a club where Vick’s thirtieth birthday party was being held.

Sounds to me like you are in pretty deep, Michael.

My PR Advice for Vick

Spoof of Vick's Dogfighting InvolvementMichael, let’s face it, your once all-star image is long gone, but you are doing nothing to improve your status as one of the most hated players in the league. It’s time for you to work on some image management, especially if you still plan on playing in the NFL.

Vick is going to have to work around the clock to improve his image, but the payoff will  make his efforts worth it. Step one towards damage control for Vick: get out into the community. This is easy to do. Run a football camp, participate in a breast cancer walk, visit a children’s hospital – the possibilities are endless. If Vick begins to foster a positive relationship with his community, he’s likely to start earning positive media coverage and begin to transition into the role model athlete image that Vick, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the NFL will benefit from.

Step two for Vick’s image management campaign: STOP ASSOCIATING WITH CRIMINALS. One word comes to mind here, and though it’s not the most sophisticated word, I’m going to give it to you anyway: DUH! Number one, it’s part of his probation. I’m assuming he didn’t like jail enough to want to go back (but of course I could be wrong). Number two, he is part of the National Football League, not the “National Jail Yard League” (of course this does not exist), I think he could find better company than that which he keeps now. Number three, ever hear of the boy who cried wolf? His “wrong place at the wrong time” claim is going to get old – FAST.

Vick "Flips Off" the MediaStep three to image management: clean up his act. Making rude gestures to fans, failing drug tests, dogfighting – unnecessary and completely avoidable. I think it’s fair to say that with all of the money he makes (and it is A LOT), Michael Vick could find some better activities to keep him occupied.

My PR Advice for the Eagles and the NFL

Get rid of Vick! He is bad news.

Vick has failed to maintain the image that NFL athletes are expected to uphold. The league gave him another chance, and he blew it. How many more chances can they give? As Vick’s image plummets at the speed of light, the NFL’s image declines as well. He doesn’t post great enough numbers to offset the risk he brings to his teams and the league.

It’s That Time Again

Yep, that’s right – I want to hear what you think. Can Vick save his image and his career with successful PR efforts? Should the league get rid of him? Or do you have a completely different stance on the Michael Vick saga? Leave me your thoughts (I anticipate them like a kid on Christmas morning)!

Goodbye Cleveland, Goodbye Career

June 24, 2010

Leave Cleveland? I wouldn’t do that if I were you, LeBron

LeBron James In Action6-foot-8-inch, 250-pound NBA center, LeBron James, is not just intimidating in his size, but in the impressive numbers he posts while on the court. This being true, it is no wonder that he is a constant topic of conversation in the sports community as his current contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers ends and the competition for adding number 23 to the roster heats up across the NBA.

Miami, Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, and Chicago are at the forefront of the hunt for James alongside Cleveland who aims to keep him. With free agency as another option for James, he has some major decisions to make in the next few weeks; all of which will affect not only his checkbook, but his image as well. My PR advice for LeBron: stay in Cleveland (if you’re wondering, no, I’m not a Cavs fan). Leaving could crush his reputation and thus the rest of his would-be career.

Hometown Hero and the American Dream

Born December 30, 1984, James grew up in the state of Ohio. While attending St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in the Cleveland area, he was named the MVP of McDonald’s High School All-American Game and the 2003 National High School Player of the Year, among other achievements.

His childhood dream of playing basketball for the Cleveland Cavaliers became a reality when he was drafted by the team in the first round (first overall pick) of the 2003 NBA draft. As this occurred, he succeeded both in developing into the hometown hero of the Cleveland area and in achieving the American Dream.

This is in large part why many people across the nation look up to James. He worked hard all his life to accomplish not only just a simple goal, but the ultimate goal that all young athletes share of playing for their favorite team. This achievement gives hope to kids who have the same dream. People also look up to him as a humble athlete due to his love for the Cleveland area and his tendency to give back to the community.

If James leaves Cleveland, he’s likely leaving for money. In doing so he will not only be giving up on the American Dream in his public’s eye, but he will lose his reputation as the humble athlete. He would essentially be saying, “Goodbye mass fan base, goodbye successful career.”

Big Fish in a Small Pond

Cleveland is the eighteenth largest DMA (designated market area) in the United States. It is the smallest DMA of the cities avidly recruiting LeBron. In Cleveland, there are no names and few attractions, other than the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, that compete in popularity with LeBron James and “his” Cavaliers. People that come to Cleveland from all over (locally, nationally and internationally) often come for different reasons, but there is always one commonality among their agendas: LeBron James. Whether it’s buying a t-shirt, seeing the Q, or catching a game, it’s always there.

If James leaves Cleveland for one of the areas with a larger DMA, there are many more attractions and many more people for him to compete with. He will not be as popular or as important in the community. The big fish (James) in the small pond (Cleveland) will suddenly be a small fish in a much bigger pond. LeBron would have to make a real impression on a community with a larger DMA to gain a reputation and popularity comparable to that which he had in Cleveland. Good luck with that, LeBron.

If At First You Don’t Succeed, You Can’t Try Again

LeBron has already proven his worth in Cleveland. He may not have won a championship yet, but the success he has brought the Cavs is undeniable. So, as of yet he is viewed as an all-star with unrivaled talent.

If at the end of his contract James goes to Los Angeles, he will be expected to bring more to the team than current fan-favorite Kobe Bryant already has. They will be expected to be the dynamic duo of the NBA. If he goes to go to New York, he will be expected to give the same “lift” to the Knicks as he did to the Cavs a few years ago. He will be expected to become to New York what Kobe is to Los Angeles. If he goes to Chicago, he will be expected not only to add to Michael Jordan’s six NBA championships, but to live up to the Jordan legacy.

If LeBron fails to meet expectations in any of these instances, he fails to live up to his reputation. His talent will be doubted and he will no longer be considered the NBA all-star player that he currently is. That’s a huge career risk LeBron. Are you feeling lucky enough to gamble?

What are You Thinking?

I have plenty more to say about the chance of LeBron James leaving Cleveland. I could go on forever, but I always come to the conclusion that leaving Cleveland is more likely to crush his career than boost it. Now I would really like to know what you think. So come on, readers. Put your biases aside and tell me what you really think. Is leaving Cleveland a good PR move for LeBron or a bad one? I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

Witness LeBron James