Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Super PR Lesson

By: Scott Stein, Leonard & Finco Public Relations
It’s been more than two weeks since the Super Bowl and I still hear people talking about Cam Newton’s performance. The conversation generally ignores the way he played during the game and, instead, focuses on his “show” to the media after the Panthers’ loss to the Broncos.

I’ve got to admit, I wasn’t a real Newton fan; he was just a bit too brash on the field for me. But as the Super Bowl was approaching, and I was seeing and reading more about the young QB, I was coming around. That all changed after the game.

From a PR perspective, Newton’s postgame news conference (if you can really call it that) demonstrates something we discuss at length when we’re doing media training with clients. Preparation is the key. Certainly, he knew which questions were going to be asked and should have been prepared to answer those questions. Panthers’ staff should have worked with him to avoid the childish display that was demonstrated by the NFL’s newly-crowned MVP. 

His moody responses to reporters have a lot of people wondering if this will hurt his reputation going forward. I would venture to guess that many people will have short memories if he continues to play to an MVP level. His antics, however, could have an impact on endorsement deals, particularly when you consider that he remains unapologetic about his behavior. In today’s world, being a sore loser could cost him millions of dollars.  

I have watched all 50 Super Bowls, which means there have been 50 QBs who faced reporters after losing the big game. I can guarantee you that they all went into the game thinking they could win and weren’t happy coming out on the short end. I can’t, however, recall any of the previous 49 losing quarterbacks showing such a lack of sportsmanship. Let’s hope that Cam Newton eventually learns a good PR lesson from Super Bowl 50 and the aftermath.

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