Social Networking Sports Business

Protect Your Rep: The A-Rod Lesson

A-Rod was discussed earlier today, so let’s keep the trend going.  Luckily, or unluckily, most agents will never deal with an issue like that which Alex Rodriguez is currently wrapped in.

Lies, deceit, and public infidelity.

It is not something that the average man doesn’t deal with on a daily basis, but fans do not view one of the world’s most highly paid and skilled athletes as an average man.

A-Rod is having a reputation crisis in the world’s biggest media market.

Is it impossible for A-Rod to fix his current situation?  At this point, no.  The point in reputation monitoring and reputation is to catch and address issues early. You break the news and you take the power away from the new media and citizen journalist.

So what steps could A-Rod have taken if he was monitoring his reputation online?

  1. Address the issues of extra-marital relations in his own words. Is it true? Is it not true? Andy Petitte is currently the poster boy for telling the truth in a sticky situation and having it blow over due to honesty. You will be found guilty in the court of public perception regardless. Humility and humanity can go a long way.
  2. Approach the  divorce from his wife in a manner in which squelches rumors. If this is an amicable split, put out a united front. If it is not, get your side out in your words. Be honest, transparent. Show your humanity and take the ammo away from the press.

This situation is an extreme. There are few people on the level of A-Rod in the sports world. But these concepts translate to all athletes.

You need to 1) monitor your reputation and 2) react in a transparent fashion to what you find.

How do you respond?  Take some premeditated strikes.

  1. Start a blog for your athlete. This will give him a platform to humanize himself and address public issues.
  2. Create some market contacts with niche sports editors and forum moderators. This will allow you to spread your message easily. Have your athlete be readily accessible to the Internet media and citizen journalist.
  3. Setup a strong reputation management system using various monitoring methods. Approach positive and negative sentiment.

I know that so much of this seems counterintuitive to what have been long held principles. But the new media environment will change your business, whether you want to change or not. The key is learning how to bend and not to break.