Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Brave New World

The Atlanta Braves are in a world of public relations hurt right now. Between one coach being suspended for crude behavior towards fans in San Fransisco, and a starting pitcher being arrested for DUI, the public relations department is overwhelmed. Atlanta, led by sophomore super-star Jason Heyward, is in the midst of rebuilding, something that fans recently are not used to. Since winning the NL a major league record 14 consecutive seasons during the 90s and early 2000s to., the team has struggled and failed to make the playoffs. Anyone follows sports knows the delicate position rebuilding teams are in, with either success or failure on the brink either side. When pitching coach Roger McDowell directed gay slurs towards fans, along with inappropriate sexual gestures and threatening another fan with a bat, it brought added pressure to the organization. If that wasn't enough, April 28, one day after McDowell was accused of inappropriate behavior, pitcher Derek Lowe was arrested for DUI, further compacting the Braves woes.
So what do the Braves do as an organization? Well, luckily for the Braves two examples of how to handle both. In McDowell's case, the Braves need to handle him the way the Lakers, David Stern, and the NBA handled Kobe Bryant's gay slur that was captured on live television. Reprimand quickly, and have the offender respond in a timely and sincere manner, which McDowell has done recently in a statement released by the Braves. For Lowe, a slightly different approach is needed. Miguel Caberra, the first baseman for the Detroit Tigers, was arrested February 16 for DUI during spring training. Since the season, the Tigers have let Cabrera play, and separated his athletic career from his legal problems with great success. The Braves started Lowe today, which resulted in a 6-5 win over the Cardinals. Another success for the Braves. By this standard, the Braves are well on their way to easing over their problems.