This week the crisis experts looked into the comments from the New England Patriots and how they are handling the controversy over deflated footballs. The team’s coach, Bill Belichick denied any knowledge of deflating game balls, then held a second press conference in which he talked about the science of deflation and made a reference to the 1990s comedy “My Cousin Vinny.”
Vincent Schiavone, executive chairman, ListenLogic: “[This] is not really about under-inflated balls…it’s not even about the larger questions: ‘Did the Patriots and coach Belichick get caught cheating again?’; ‘Does nice guy Tom Brady cheat?’; ‘Do all teams and all quarterbacks prepare their balls outside of the official rules?’ All communications from all involved parties are focused on one thing–the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is big business, the most watched and most valuable sporting event in the U.S.
“All parties are handling it the best they can under the circumstances. The number one rule of all crisis communications is to not say anything that will make the situation worse. Any admission by Mr. Brady, Mr. Belichick or the Patriots would force the NFL to do something about it before the Super Bowl. The driving strategy for this crisis communication is ‘Do not do or say anything that may impact the Super Bowl!’
“Mr. Belichick’s response that he had nothing to do with the balls and ‘You will have to talk with Tom” was not so good. Neither was his response he looked into the process and then presented plausible explanations as to why it could happen. The coach is seen as distancing himself from the crisis and throwing his [quarterback] under the bus.
Read the entire piece here.