Football Fan? Beware! You could be one of those Jersey-Wearing, Beer-Guzzling, Ball-Tossing, SLEEPER SPIES!

     Upon graduating I hope to find a job somewhere in the field of Public Relations, so when I stumble across articles involving aspects of PR they usually catch my eye. Although totally not a huge sports fan, I began browsing through some of LZ Granderson’s articles he posts to his weekly commentary column for ESPN.com. The article, “Clarifying Tom Brady’s Remarks,” posted September 16th, 2011 describes a comment that the New England Patriot’s player, Tom Brady, said to a reporter before the season’s home opener game. Apparently Brady stated Patriot’s fans should ” …start drinking early. Get nice and rowdy. It’s a 4:15 game, they’ll have a lot of ime to get lubed up, come out here and cheer for their home team.”

     While this really doesn’t look like a PR nightmare at first glance, LZ describes that New England’s front desk scurried to send out a spokesperson to clarify Brady’s “drinking early” meant drinking lots of water and staying hydrated. Yeah, … right… But was it really necessary for the Patriot’s front office to panick about a little, old statement like that? Nope. In fact, they released the statement that Brady’s words could be interpreted to encourage fans to break the new Foxborough public drunkenness law. Okay, I do understand that celebrities and famous athletes do need to be careful with the actions/thinking/products/etc they seemingly endorse, but encouraging fans to have a good time and drink some beer? I highly doubt that was supposed to be some encrypted call to arms.

     The columnist  then takes the transcending themes from this situation, that of personal responsibility and political correctness, and applies them to broader circumstances and every day life. This is a great rhetorical tactic, showing that one example supporting your argument might not just be an isolated incident; it’s a great strategy to switch from looking at an argument’s specifics to its universals. This article does a beautiful job of taking the relatively insignificant Brady comment and PR drama and re-examining it through a broader theoretical lens. For example, because “get nice and rowdy” could be seen as a command, LZ questions where personal responsibility went? Can’t the fans determine for themselves which actions are deemed appropriate… and LEGAL? If they do in fact break the law, isn’t it 100% their own dang fault?

     LZ (whom I can only imagine to have been shaking his head as he typed this) states, “Political correctness started with good intention but has since been abused and now erodes what it means to be held responsible for our own actions.” Agreed! Far too often PR professionals take the notion of verbal liability to a crazy extreme. Just because someone is a sports icon and admired greatly doesn’t mean he wields some crazy, totalitarian power. For most people, at least, football isn’t a mind control device and “get rowdy” just means to make sure you have a heck of a good time!

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by bsoda on October 5, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Like you, Holland, I completely agree with this statement: ““Political correctness started with good intention but has since been abused and now erodes what it means to be held responsible for our own actions.” People, after making stupid decisions, often blame the media, celebrities, athletes, etc. Yes, people who are apart of the media are influential, but one cannot possibly blame all of their life’s choices on the media. People in the media do need to be careful with what they say, but I find that there was nothing wrong with what Brady said. This means a lot, because I personally do not like him (I’m a bitter Colts fan who is missing Peyton Manning). This was an excellent read!

    Reply

  2. I completely agree with a lot of things in this post. I think one of the reasons we like to heavily criticize famous people when they make an insignificant blunder is that it makes us feel better about ourselves. They are so often deified, athletes especially, and it is nice to see them mess up sometimes. Us non-celebrities say things we don’t mean all the time. Just imagine if we had to deal with the wrath of the media every time we did so. I guess the higher they are, the further they fall. We certainly don’t mind watching.

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  3. I agree with both of you. Too often people take the statements made by celebrities (whether they be in sports, television, movies, etc.) to the extreme. They feel that if a celeb says it’s okay, then it must be so. Even if he or she did not intend the statement to be used in that particular way, people find ways to excuse their actions by saying that it must be legal if a celebrity “told” me to do it. In reality, each individual is responsible for his actions. It does not matter who may have influenced the decision, in the end, your choice to go through with it, was up to you. A celebrity could tell you to go get completely wasted and then jump on the highway for a drive, and while this advice does not make sense, along with being illegal (and dangerous), if one were to decide to go through with it, the consequences would be a result of his actions, not the celebrity’s advice.

    With this being said, though, I feel as though celebrities should be particularly careful with what they say and how they say it, because being how they are viewed in this society, many people look up to them. With this awareness, that I am sure all celebs have, they should want to be careful with their words, and even their actions. They are, in a sense, a role model, what some aspire to be. They should take this with all of the responsibility it requires and grow up, so to speak.

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