Busted – now what?

January 9, 2008

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Oklahoma lineman busted for shoplifting

I’m sure you are well aware the University of Oklahoma football team is in the Valley for the Fiesta Bowl on Wednesday. However, what you may not have heard is their starting defensive lineman was arrested on suspicion of shoplifting Saturday, December 29, according to Tempe police. 

Although he admitted guilt and was cooperative throughout the questioning process, the sophomore, who has started 11 of 13 games and had 3 1/2 sacks in the past season will watch the game in the comfort of his own home.

In a crisis situation, any PR pro will tell you to: Appoint a designated spokesperson to handle all media inquiries. Make sure that employees know to refer the media to the spokesperson.  Accept responsibility swiftly; take decisive action. Stay Calm. Take a deep breath and think about what you need to do.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops handled the media inquiries with a calm and cool approach. Deemed “Coach of the Year” by various organizations, including the Associated Press, Stoops is a solid spokesperson with an ability to gain the trust of the public and media. In addition to his nearly 20 years of coaching experience, Stoops has a marketing degree which may lend to his media grace.

Although the shoplifting “drama” may shed a negative light on the team, Stoops did everything right and covered all 3 points: Stoops served as the only spokesperson for the team-providing a consistent message.  Within 48 hours, Stoops accepted responsibility and made the call to suspend the player for the game. 

Stoops media presence was as calm, cool and collected as Tom Brady come-from-behind victory over the NY Giants.

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