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The Arizona Diamondbacks have made a change to their broadcast team.

Daron Sutton is apparently out as the TV play-by-play guy.  But – the D-Backs, nor Sutton, are not saying if it’s permanent or  why the change.  Nothing more than the standard  “for personal reasons."  Think about all of those possibilities.

Silence in situations involving public figures, high profile companies or others who rely on positive perception by their fans, customers or other stakeholders is never the right approach.  It allows the rumor mill to generate who knows what scenarios that can have severe long term damage associates with them.

Remember the two weeks of radio silence after Tiger Woods ran over the fire hydrant after an altercation with his wife?  If he’d have come out of the gate with his explanation, no matter how bad the situation was, the public would have had a better reception.  People do understand that even celebrities are human, too.  But the two weeks of rumors made the mountain almost too high to overcome, especially when the sordid truth did come out.

In the D-Backs’ situation, the change in their high-profile broadcast team is being handled differently than they have done with other personnel moves.  We always know when a player is sent down to the minors or called up to the big leagues.

A few weeks ago, D-Backs managing partner Ken Kendrick called out a couple players during a radio interview who he thought were underperforming.   Their statistics indicate that – but there was quite an uproar by some that an owner would publicly hold his players accountable.  I had no problem with it.

If one of the prime-time news anchors, sports reporters or other “faces” of an organization -- one who has been used relentlessly to gain the public’s favor and support – was suddenly reassigned, fired or “their contract was not renewed,” the viewing public should be told something.

Communication is a two-way street.  But in this case, it’s a public relations error – if you’re scoring at home.

Scott Hanson
Scott Hanson
President Scott is president of HMA Public Relations and a founding member of the Public Relations Global Network. He’s a Phoenix native, husband, father of two and a fan of all sports and a participant in some. Check out Scott's full bio

11 Comments

  1. Stephanie Lough says:

    Latest reports say it was a dispute over dress code.

  2. Charlotte Shaff says:

    I always get frustrated when media (sports or news) drop someone on-air and don’t explain why…Remember when a lot of the main GMAZ anchors got the axe at 3TV? I still see viewers post and ask about them. Obviously the whole story doesn’t have to be addressed, and sometimes it is just a contract thing, but the public (who grow close to the people they see on TV) should be given something more than silence in response to one of their favorite people being taken off the air.

  3. Barry says:

    I like Daron, but if there is a problem, Dress code or opinion, just say it and get ON with things. If the Dbacks are going to fire him, DO IT and MOVE ON. With all this delay, I would think they are giving Daron time to think things over before they make a final decision. I personally LIKE announcers to give THEIR opinion and NOT a WHAT’S BEST FOR THE TEAM opinion.

    • Barry, I agree. It can be a fine line for them sometimes when it comes to telling it like it is — but professional athletes should be able to handle comments about their failures as easily as they accept praise for their successes.

  4. Scott Pfister says:

    TV crew rumor mill said it was a recurring (4 warnings) dress code violation.

  5. David Landis says:

    The first rule of good PR is be transparent. Communicate openly. If there’s an error, explain why and what you have done to rectify the situation for the future. Sounds like that wasn’t the case here. They should have called HMA PR. Cheers, David

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