Farewell Captain

The Captain

Last night was one for the ages.

Bottom of the ninth, tie game, two outs, last at bat of a legendary career at Yankee Stadium, and The Captain came through again with a walk off single.

A perfect ending for one of the greatest athletes of our generation.

Derek Jeter has been the face, heart and soul of the Yankees organization for over two decades. In that time, he became one of the most beloved athletes in New York City history.

Jeter and the Yankees weren’t the only ones to bask in last night’s spotlight, as Jeter’s lastest clutch moment is a huge boost for Nike’s “RE2PECT” campaign.

Nike and the Jordan Brand’s commitment to The Captain during his victory lap is paying off for the brand, and has forever attached them to a memorable moment in sports history. RE2PECT merchandise sold out on Nike.com last night, with a little help from Jeter’s nephew (video below).

The #RE2PECT hashtag was trending worldwide on Twitter and Facebook last night, the commercial has over 8 million YouTube views, and the campaign played a role in boosting Nike’s revenue 15%.

What a career, and what a campaign.

 

Another Week, Another Case

Adrian-Peterson

Let’s just say that I’m glad I don’t work in the NFL’s PR department this week. 

We are all aware of the Ray Rice and Greg Hardy situations, and now we have Adrian Peterson.

Peterson was indicted last week for disciplining his 4 year old son with a switch, and another case of alleged child abuse, involving a different 4 year old son, also surfaced this week.  The Minnesota Vikings decided to deactivate Peterson for last week’s game and were applauded for their course of action.

However, after a 30-7 loss to the Patriots, on Monday the Vikings felt it would be best to reinstate Peterson and allow “due process” to play out. That is…until today, when the team reversed course again and decided to add Peterson to the Commissioner’s Exempt List, which pays Peterson his full salary while he is barred from all team facilities/activities until the resolution of his court case. 

Though this should have been the case all along, it took a public reprimanding from Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, threats from multiple sponsors and Nike suspending Peterson’s contract to make it happen.

People sometimes question the role of public relations, but this week has shown its massive importance. On one hand, it’s forced the NFL to take the appropriate course of action that may not have happened otherwise. On the other, it may be the NFL’s downfall.

Mondays are the Worst

ray riceYesterday was one of the ugliest Mondays in recent sports history. Let’s do a quick recap:

Now, that’s a lot of ugly for one day.

The NFL’s handling of the Ray Rice situation has been dreadful from the beginning, and  we shouldn’t be applauding their handling of it now. Yes, the NFL and the Ravens did the right thing, but only after the video was made available to the public, and for fear of public backlash. If that tape never surfaces, Ray Rice is still playing football, and that is a travesty. Ray Rice was cut and suspended because of TMZ, not because the NFL thought it was the appropriate action to take. This should have been the outcome from the beginning.

Danny Ferry, Hawks President of Basketball Operations and GM

The country’s second most popular league, the NBA, is facing its second racial controversy of the summer. It began with Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson announcing he would sell his share of the team following the reveal of a racist email he sent in 2012.  The email was discovered during an internal investigation launched after several team executives were shocked by Danny Ferry’s comments mentioned above. How Ferry still has a job is unfathomable, and brings a larger question into focus…what is the Atlanta Hawks environment like if he felt comfortable saying racist things on a conference call with his bosses? Surely, we haven’t heard the last of this situation. 

Yesterday was an ugly one, but one of the things we love most about sports is redemption. So, here’s to hoping that the sports world redeems itself and reminds us all why we fell in love with it in the first place.

Popped A Molly, I’m Suspended…Woo!

When the photo below of Wes Welker enjoying the Kentucky Derby originally surfaced, it was met with a collective…huh?

Wes Welker Molly

Now, it makes a lot more sense. Wes was rolling, and letting the good times roll too. Now, I can’t say that I wouldn’t wear Orange Julius colored fedoras if I was a millionaire, but I definitely wouldn’t be walking around with $25,000 and handing out $100 bills like I was at Magic City. Unless, of course, Molly.

It was announced yesterday that Welker is suspended for the first four games of the season due to his Kentucky Derby shenanigans. Welker’s been know to enjoy a party, so this isn’t a total shock, but it does bring more attention to what seems to be an increasing problem in the NFL.

Hardball

A wise man once said “throw me the ball and watch what I do with it,” and the little leaguers from Jackie Robinson West are showing the world what they’re about.

JRW

 

Strike 1: Caught You By Surprise 

JRW’s rise to today’s U.S. Championship game has been the surprise of the Little League World Series. The team is the first to represent Chicago in 31 years, and the first all black team in over a decade. Just to make it to Williamsport, PA, the team had to come up with a 6 run rally in the last inning of their Great Lakes regional final game. 

Strike 2: Right Before Your Eyes 

JRW’s success has been broadcast to the nation on ESPN, but has meant the most to the city they call home. Their Little League World Series games are being watched throughout the city, from bars in River North to watch parties that number into the thousands in Morgan Park. 

Pitch 3: This One’s To The Wall 

Fast, aggressive, finish. That’s the way this JRW team plays on the diamond, and it brings a brand of excitement that isn’t usually associated with baseball. Speed and power are the key components to the team’s aggressive style of play, which we got a glimpse of when tournament star Pierce Jones blasted three home runs in his first World Series game. Darold Butler, JRW’s manager, says the team likes to play “4 inning games,” meaning that they have every intention of 10 run ruling the opponent.  

Win or lose today, Chicago is proud to call Jackie Robinson West its own, and one thing is clear – ain’t no fun like a game of hardball. 

No Country for Black Men

I’m trying to write down my thoughts on what’s transpired over the past week in Ferguson, MO and am not really sure where to begin. I’m sitting refreshing Twitter and watching MSNBC and going through a range of emotions. I was damn near brought to tears seeing the way prostesters are being treated.

Mike Brown’s execution was despicable, and the police department’s handling of EVERYTHING that followed has been shockingly deplorable. We’re told that the police are to “protect and serve” yet they’ve turned Ferguson into a war zone, permanently fracturing the psyche and trust within the community, and they’re doing so WITH CAMERAS EVERYWHERE. Imagine how they’ve behaved without cameras present.

My heart breaks when I think about what Mike Brown’s family must be feeling, and continues to break when I think of all the people who stood on the front lines of the Civil Rights movement and are seeing this catastrophe unfold. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, and what’s going on in Ferguson right now is a threat to the entire nation.

America is no country for black men, and unfortunately this is the latest example.

are we really free?

 

The Return

Yo, I’m back! It’s been a while since I’ve written and for that, I am sorry. I guess you could look at it as an off season of sorts. I relocated from perpetually rainy Eugene, Ore. to the home of crazy hot dogs, Kanye West and Jay Cutler (I hope he doesn’t yell at me.) Yep, Chicago is my new home, and the main reason that I’m starting this up again. What better place to provide endless amounts of material and inspiration about sports and public relations?

Photo by Tom C. via Flickr

I’m looking forward to continuing to cover new and interesting topics that blend the sports and public relations worlds together. I’ll keep the return post brief, but in the words of President Obama’s BFF Jay-Z “when I come back like Jordan, wearin the 4-5, it ain’t to play games with you.” I’m continuing the journey and I hope you continue to ride with me.