Yesterday, I came across this article by Ben Rothenberg, Nicole Gibbs, Serena Williams’s Next Opponent, Speaks Her Mind, in the New York Times and because of my obsession with all things tennis I had to check it out.
When it comes to tennis and all the wrongs that take place on and off the court (see just a few of my previous blog posts: Crisis Communications – Women… Get On Your Knees, Sharapova’s Drug Crisis, Serena, Serena, Serena and When Sports Players “Meltdown.”) I enjoy giving my opinion.
Which was why I appreciated reading the Rothenberg article, but this quote at the end of the article is what really caught my eye: “Gibbs said some around her had bluntly told her to stop speaking out, for the sake of her earnings potential, on and off court.
My immediate first thought was that this was crazy, Gibbs should be able to give her opinion and it shouldn’t have any impact on her sponsors or earnings potential. And… then I remembered what I do for a living and how I advise our clients. Personal opinions do matter (and trust me I have a lot of them, too) but not when you are representing a brand or a company. As much as it is appropriate for an individual to have opinions, consideration still has to be made for where one works and the “perception” of the company.
What do you think? Should Gibbs feel free to speak her mind with no consideration for her personal brand?