I know in the past I’ve discussed public relations and its arch-rival, lawyers. But even I can admit there are some situations that require legal counsel to be the lead voice, such as the current situation with Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
For prominent individuals (celebrities, pro athletes, etc.), you have to rely on your personal lawyer to do your talking if you’re in legal hot water. Companies and organizations don’t necessarily need to follow that model, though. It only seems to work when we’re talking about someone famous doing the perp walk. If a CEO’s company gets in legal trouble, the PR counsel should do the advising.
Why the difference? I’m honestly not sure how to explain it yet. But when an athlete like Ben Roethlisberger is accused of a crime, it’s more appropriate to hear from an attorney. When a company is accused of either criminal or unethical behavior, it sounds more genuine if a spokesperson does the talking (or the CEO is listening closely to his/her PR person).
Because the CEO is still trying to control the flow of information to its audiences. For celebs like Big Ben, you really have no choice but to keep your mouth shut.