Posted by David Oates 2 years, 9 months ago

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Let me first say that I really don't like the Patriots. I think the organization is arrogant, egotistical and pretentious. They're also a bunch of cheats.

Okay - now that I've channelled my inner sports radio on-air caller persona, let me say that I think the whole Deflategate story is silly. Even if New England is found to have supplied footballs that were not inflated to NFL standards, it does not excuse the Indianapolis Colts from failing to show up for the AFC Championship game. It wasn't as if the footballs were so out of spec as to affect the game. I'd be hard pressed to see that conclusion come out of the current investigation.

But the story has legs because the sports fan is eating up the fact that the Patriots, its coaching staff and front office may be embroiled in yet another cheating scandal. There's so much animosity for this team that's known to have used unauthorized spying techniques to gain the upper hand in previous games that the mere thought of them trying to fix their way into Super Bowl XLIX is not only plausable, but darn right believable. 

The truth is it's all a bunch of nonsense and the Patriots are getting raked over the coals for no real reason. But if they are seeking to blame anyone, they only need to look in the mirror.

PR practitioners need to take this lesson to heart. If your organiztion's reputation is one that embodies poor integrity and selfish values, your stakeholders will find every excuse in the book to sustainiate their claim. Only through a concerted effort to change its culture alongside a well orchestrated communications strategy over a significant amount of time can this be changed. Otherwise, you'll be like Robert Kraft and spending a significant amount of your day defending yourself against the court of public opinion.

Good luck with that Patriots. Go Seahawks!

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