Additional PR Lessons from a Baseball Manager’s Meltdown

Photo of a baseballA lot has already been written about the way Cincinnati Reds Manager Bryan Price recently lost his cool (to put it mildly) in a pre-game conversation with reporters.

Writing in PR Daily, Aaron Endré offered “4 PR lessons from a baseball manager’s meltdown.”

His tips for talking with reporters are summarized as follows:

  1. Speak as if everything you say will be printed.
  2. Clarify which statements are “on the record.”
  3. Agree on when the news can go live.
  4. Keep calm.

I agree with all of them, but in the context of Mr. Price’s incident I’d like to add three more suggestions:

5. Take a deep breath and pause before responding when you’re upset.

Responding in anger is never a good idea. Take a moment to cool down—no matter how provocative a question you may have been asked or how upset you are—and think through a measured, appropriate answer.

The #1 point I stress in my media training seminars is this: When you’ve made your point, stop talking. Why? Because you usually make your best points in the initial response to a question. A skilled reporter may nod as a signal to keep you talking, but it’s prudent to resist the urge to do so or you may end up going down the swamp by saying more than you intended. The more you talk, the greater the opportunity to say something you’ll regret later on. So think before you speak, and when you speak be concise and to the point.

6. Learn and use good manners.

Common courtesy and civility seem to be in increasingly short supply these day. The issue here, for me at least, is not so much that Mr. Price got caught on tape with this profane rant, but that he made the rant in the first place. This guy must have some significant anger issues, but it’s still no excuse to behave like that. Self-control is something we should have learned in elementary school, but it’s better to learn it late than never.

7. Remember that it’s not just about you.

Maybe Mr. Price felt better after verbally attacking the reporter who upset him, but what sort of example did his behavior set for the many kids who have now been exposed to it? Whether they want to be or not, athletes and coaches are role models to score of young people who look up to them and imitate their behavior. What sort of message is he sending to them? Certainly not a very positive one.

photo credit: Opening Day 2007 – Astros via photopin (license)

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