Ben Roethlisberger’s Bar Mishap From a PR Perspective

Posted: April 21, 2010 in Public Relations Industry Notes

The Pittsburg Steelers’ courageous starting quarterback  Ben Roethlisberger was suspended Wednesday for six games for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. A Georgia College and State University accused the Steelers starting quarterback of assaulting her at a bar in Milledgeville, GA. Although he was not officially charged for the offense, he felt the consequences of the altercation and his image of a “good guy” in the National Football League is in jeopardy.

From a public relations stand point I think the suspension may have done as much damage as trial would have. The suspension gives an air of guilt that hasn’t been proven in a court of law. The biggest thing that I would pay attention to on this issue would be on how his advertising opportunities would change. Because this altercation happened without a trial and it was never said that Rothlisberger was guilty or not the BIG QUESTION IS….Will this change his image as the gutsy gentle giant? Honestly, I think it will because of how the media’s perceptions and how this issue of professional athletes and domestic disputes have effected players’ images in the past. For example, Ray Lewis actually went to court and was found NOT GUILTY of a crime concerning a murder in Atlanta but because of the coverage had event, it caused  a negative stigma over his entire career at the time. In this day and age public image, as a public figure, is probably one the most difficult things to up hold (especially if its one of integrity and honesty) because the way news is generated.

In my opinion I believe that if you want to keep a “clean” public image you should watch the company you keep and limit your media footprint around skeptical situations. Although this may be something that is really hard for athletes and entertainers, they have to realize that they serve as role models for a very young and impressionable generations. 



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