Professional athletes are held to a higher standard than other celebrities; their professional and personal lives become mixed no matter how rigidly athletes attempt to separate them. This makes athlete reputation management crucial, especially since an online reputation can be damaged because of problems as simple as a bad day on the field, or a personal problem that's nobody's business but yours…except every fan of the team has decided to butt in. If it's gone sour, here's how to repair a professional athlete's online reputation.
Fixing An Athlete's Online Reputation: Assessing The Problem
Athlete scandals come in two forms: Personal scandals, wherein an athlete's off-the-field behavior is viewed as being improper, unsportsmanlike, or offensive in other ways, and professional scandals, wherein the athlete's behavior is seen to actually compromise the integrity of the sport. An example of the former can be found in any gossip column, although the most notable in recent times is the ugly fallout from Tiger Woods' divorce. However, examples of the latter, such as Lance Armstrong's doping scandal or the Major League Baseball steroids scandal, can cost individual athletes millions of dollars in fines and lost endorsements. Beyond that, they can drag down teams, leagues, even entire sports, making athlete image management about far more than just one player.
As a result, each have to be approached in a different manner and handled in different ways. The personal scandal is best handled by issuing a sincere apology to those involved and the fans and leave it at that. Personal scandals won't matter to fans if you can deliver on the court or in the field; you may find yourself getting mocked by sportswriters and otherwise made the butt of jokes for a while, but in the long run, it won't define your online reputation unless you let it.
Furthermore, if you acknowledge but don't feed it, it will eventually be superseded by another scandal. If you get embroiled in a personal scandal, simply consider it a learning opportunity and one you won't repeat.
Athlete Image Management And Professional Scandals
A professional scandal is a much different matter and requires far more careful athlete reputation repair. If an athlete stands accused of doping, cheating, or some other form of improper behavior, the scandal will be more difficult to contain and more likely to get traction in the press. It should be noted that idle accusations on message boards should be ignored; every player will hear, at some point, that he must be cheating, usually from a very bitter fan for one of your rival teams.
If for some reason you face baseless accusations of misbehavior as part of your play, the best thing to do is to consult with your team and then face them head-on. Nothing makes false rumors go away quite like directly putting them to rest. If you're accused of doping, and your tests come back negative, that's a fairly definitive demonstration of your innocence. Showing confidence that nothing will come of the situation often turns out to be the best way to contain a scandal. After all, if you show you've got nothing to hide, many will realize it's the truth.
If you need to repair a professional athlete's online reputation, ReputationDefender can help. We'll show you how to use social media to build your brand, and what strategies will help you turn fans of the team into your fans. Play the pro game, not the gossip game. Call ReputationDefender today.