When will business leaders, athletic directors, team owners and politicians realize–you can’t suppress negative coverage; you can only, perhaps, delay it.
Most everything eventually becomes public. Just look to the White House (or Baylor University), where stories emerge daily from private discussions and emails. Sports beat writers uncover previously hidden stories as well.
So why in the world would an esteemed franchise, such as the St. Louis Cardinals, deny credentials to a respected media outlet like Outsports for an unspectacular mid-summer baseball game?
Probably, and stupidly, because they feared that Outsports would write something harsh about its Christian Day theme. You see: Outsports focuses on athletes and issues related to LGBQT. Sure, Outsports offers commentary, but so does every other sports media outlet. Typically, Outsports celebrates athletes who are LGBQT, sharing amazing stories about talented athletes.
Instead, Outsports writer Erik Hall bought a ticket and reported the event from the stands, sticking to facts, observations, interviews and clear writing — as he always does. I’ve known and respected Erik since he was a hard-working sportswriter back in college. He’s now a top-notch journalist whose stories are always a pleasure to read. Had the Cardinals done any research, they would have realized this. More so, they failed to understand that denying this reporter a credential caused this negative press.
(Sadly, denial is a choice advocated in many PR courses as a way to deal with crisis communication. This approach typically extends the storyline and inevitably causes more negative coverage. More journalism training is needed for those seeking to work in Public Relations.)
There’s clearly nothing wrong with a team holding a Christian Day, despite absurd comments by Cardinals manager Mike Matheny that Christianity is an afflicted minority. But something is definitely amiss when a team can’t understand fundamental concepts of public relations, fabricates MLB policies and taunts a reporter by telling him to buy a ticket to cover the game.
That’s all kinds of stupid, and it’s most definitely not a Christian approach.