Mark McGwire – Thoughts from a young PR mind

Mark McGwire – Thoughts from a young PR mind

Written by: Komail Mithani

February 1, 2010 8:18 pm 0 comments

A few weeks ago, former Major League Baseball player and current hitting coach for the St.Louis Cardinals, Mark McGwire officially admitted to us that he took steroids throughout his baseball career (shocker!). While many of us could care less about his apology or that he took steroids during an era in baseball when everyone else was doing it, I asked myself, why would he come out now and admit he used steroids? Get it off his shoulder? Because he is a honest man? Future Hall of Fame entrance?

It has been almost five years since he made an appearance in Congress. Are baseball fans and sports writers going to take to heart what he said, or is it just water under the bridge? (Obviously a bridge that is not leading him anywhere near the Hall of Fame)

Although, McGwire’s situation makes for a good lesson in public relations: never be slow to respond during a crisis. From my first PR class at UT, crisis management has always been a topic of importance. In my opinion, crisis management is what separates public relations from any other marketing department. It is the plan of action we put together when a company has some sort of misfortune brought to them or simply when the company screws up. Crisis management is especially important to professional athletes that need help when their image gets tarnished. It is our value to a company, among countless other things public relations¬†practitioners¬†bring to the table. I remember one of my professors saying about a crisis, “The first 24 hours are the most important. It is what you do in these 24 hours that dictates public perception through the rest of the crisis.” McGwire is five years too late and to be honest this probably will not get him into the Baseball Hall of Fame. But, I think it was a nice try.

Another thing to note, that during his interview he said, “I did this for health reasons. I didn’t do this because I needed strength. I’ve always been able to hit home runs.” Ummmmm what? You mean to tell me that a drug tested to increase a person’s strength magically would not help you? In my opinion, this one statement completely negated his apology. If you’re going to admit to using steroids then just go all the way and quit defending yourself. What’s done is done and you have to move on from here.

We’ve seen many athletes get caught for behavior we don’t agree with for a public figure. Although some remarks we make are hypocritical to our own daily lives, but our society has brought immense responsibility to those with enormous paychecks. It’s interesting to note that if McGwire admitted all this five years ago, many of us would have a different perception of him now. He really should have taken a page from Kobe’s, A-Rod’s, or Pettitte’s book because these men are definite future Hall of Famers, even with their misfortune.

What do you think about McGwire’s recent confession?