Crisis Communications – Women: Get On Your Knees
Most people who know me know that I am passionate about a lot of things (my son is number one and tennis isn’t far behind). So, it probably comes as no surprise that quite often I come across situations regarding tennis that I am moved to write blog posts about. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Sharapova’s Drug Crisis, but I have also written blog posts about Serena Williams (my favorite tennis player) in the past titled, Serena, Serena, Serena and When Sports Players “Meltdown.”
And today, I am writing about something that has had my blood boiling for a couple of weeks now: Raymond Moore’s (the now former CEO of the California’s Indian Wells Tennis Garden) comments toward female tennis players. In case you missed it, here a short overview of some of the statements:
- “They are very, very lucky. If I was a lady player, I’d go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born, because they have carried this sport. They really have.”
- “In my next life when I come back I want to be someone in the WTA, because they ride on the coattails of the men, they don’t make any decisions and they are lucky.”
- He also made a remark that the future of WTA is in good hands because “attractive” stars like Muguruza and Bouchard are on the rise (and by attractive he was meaning physically attractive).
I could go on and on about how ridiculous all of the above statements are and some of the others that he made as well. About how the fact that these comments were even said out loud shows that individuals are still very sexist and in situations where they feel comfortable will allow that to show. This type of behavior makes me upset and sad that we are not past this in 2016. But, as I have mentioned in my earlier blog posts, here at HMA Public Relations, a Phoenix-based PR firm, we conduct media trainings for our clients and many individuals and organizations across the country.
One of the key points we discuss is to never consider something as “off the record.” Even if you feel very comfortable with the reporter, always assume that what you are saying can be used in a story. So, I have to ask, where were Moore’s public relations people when he was having an “innocent” breakfast with the media before the women’s final on Sunday? That being said, he stepped down from his position, two days later (after some very public outrage), and hasn’t made any public comments since.
If you were Moore’s public relations agency what would you have done differently?