Clemens Calamity and Bad PR

ESPN’s Skip Bayless calls it the biggest fall from grace in sports history. There’s no denying Roger Clemens’ reputation is in freefall following reports of illegal steroid use and now an alleged affair with a country singer. As I’ve listened to sports pundit after pundit voice dismay over this continuing saga, I can’t help but wonder if Clemens has had any good counsel throughout these last months.

Obviously, we don’t know who’s lying.  But to believe Clemens, you have to not believe practically everyone else. So for the sake of argument, let’s say he has been less than truthful.

I realize there are a lot of people practicing public relations out there who do not have the background or formal education to truly understand what professional public relations is all about. For instance, it is not about hedging the truth and being evasive, so my only option left is to believe Clemens hasn’t had the benefit of good PR counsel.

If he has been less than open about steroids and the alleged affair with country music singer, Mindy McCready, he has already done more damage to himself than the press could. There are ramifications when the truth is not so pretty, but it would have been better than what Clemens is facing now.

The truth hurts? Maybe. But there’s a whole lot of hurt out there now for not just Clemens, but some innocent people as well, such as his family. Any PR practitioner purporting to help Clemens — or anyone else in such a situation — would be wise to heed the Arthur W. Page Society’s seven principles of PR management with particular emphasis on the first: “Tell the truth.”


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