Playing off of the Ben Roethlisberger situation…I’m not going to completely ignore my PR brethren and their advice to Big Ben. They will play a critical role in rebuilding Roethlisberger’s relationship with his fans. The first order of business is Big Ben needs to lay low for a bit. Humility is key.
He’s innocent until proven guilty so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on that one. He hasn’t been charged with anything yet and remains to be seen if he’ll be charged at all.
Let’s say he’s cleared of all accusations and never charged. He should first come out and make a public statement and answer questions at a press conference. Then I’d put him on ESPN for an exclusive interview along with a one-on-one with the local Pittsburgh sportswriter.
If Roethlisberger is charged, he should make a public statement. Answering questions gets difficult because of the legal issues, but it’s a dance he has to do.
If he’s charged, tried and acquitted, you run the first playbook but for one change: the one-on-one TV interview needs to be more prominent. It should be network television.
If he’s found guilty, then you’re really up against it. Pro athletes can survive and thrive after incarceration. Mike Vick is a good example. But it’ll require humility more than hubris.
These are a couple simple considerations from a public relations angle. The key: preparation.