Pro-testing!

“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate,” became Paul Newman’s mantra in his 1967 movie, Cool Hand Luke.

Recently, popular San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick failed to communicate his reason for taking a knee vs. standing to observe the national anthem. Protesting police brutality of blacks is a justifiable cause by the football star who finally was quoted as saying “I’m not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

colin-kneeling

Photo courtesy of: USA Today

But Mr. Kaepernick failed to announce his stand (or in this case, not standing) beforehand, perhaps in a press conference or media interview and, therefore, his protest was totally misunderstood.

Notably, during the 28th annual salute to the military hosted at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, retired Navy Seals parachuted into the stadium to present a giant American flag to a crowd filled with former and current military. But Mr. Kaepernick continued to not stand. An angry fan described the action as, “extremely disrespectful,” and even argued that the quarterback “shouldn’t be playing football if he can’t stand up for his country and support the men and women who put their lives on the line.” Additionally, Mr. Kaepernick’s retaliation against police brutality exists within city justice systems, and does not extend to the military on a national level.

Other athletes have used their position of fame and influence to speak out against these same issues. NBA superstars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Paul used presentation skills of poise, humility and persuasiveness to stand together at the opening of the 2016 ESPY Awards and verbally deliver a call to action.

“Kap” hasn’t had the media training that savvier pro-testers have … to know how to use the media as a communications tool. It’s all part of learning the media game and how to play it!

Heat’s on!

In the aftermath of the NBA playoffs, one would imagine that the most talked about rivalry was between the Miami Heat and the victorious San Antonio Spurs! However, when a broken air conditioning system resulted in Game #1 taking place during 90-plus degree temperatures, it caused Basketball star Lebron James’ leg to cramp. That is when an unexpected battle between well-known energy drink rivals Gatorade and Powerade emerged!

lebron james

After Mr. James had to be carried off the court, tweeters all over the country who were watching the game saw an opportunity to mock Gatorade, which is the NBA’s official drink. But Gatorade had a lot to say about the situation too. Tweeters for the company made it very clear that they did not sponsor Lebron James and assured followers that drinking Gatorade would have certainly prevented Lebron’s cramp. Comments like, “The person cramping wasn’t our client. Our athletes can take the heat” and “We’ve been hydrating all day. We never cramp” were made on Twitter by Gatorade in response to fans’ accusations. And other Gatorade remarks made fun of Mr. James, the Powerade endorser.

Cooler heads at Gatorade later apologized claiming they “got caught up in the heat of the battle” and stated,“ as a longtime partner of the Miami Heat, we support the entire team.”

READY FOR MEDIA is not here to take sides, but to emphasize the power of social media. Our question is, who is tweeting for your company? In many cases, the wrong employees have posted the wrong things creating many problems for their companies. Social media is a big part of business today. Used incorrectly, it can cause severe damage to a reputation. Therefore, our Ready advice to companies is to spend some time and resources to provide employees with social media training for the proper etiquette of live coverage tweeting.