As I’m sure many of you have already heard, Brett Favre has refused to comment on allegations that accuse him of sending inappropriate text messages and lewd photos to Jenn Sterger. During the press conference following last week’s Vikings’ loss to the New York Jets, he dodged every question referring to text messages.
We don’t have to look back more than a year ago to see that this strategy is not the most successful at deterring the media and protecting your image.
Tiger Woods was on top of the golf world as the first professional athlete to earn more than $1 billion. But following coverage of his infamous car accident and extensive public infidelity, his image as a role model and African American golfing pioneer began to rapidly deteriorate.
Like Favre’s current approach, Woods tried the quiet game; refusing to answer questions involving the many allegations of infidelity. We all watched on national TV how this tactic damaged Tiger’s brand. His silence made him look unwilling to acknowledge his mistakes and face the consequences. But unlike Tiger, all is not yet lost for Favre.
Instead of remaining quiet, Favre should give his side of the story in order to have some control over the message, and, perhaps most importantly, sincerely apologize. With each question dodged by Favre, he is looking less and less genuine to the public, which is central to his personal brand.
With or without Favre’s input, the world will develop their opinions of the situation and assign guilt. Being silent certainly doesn’t make the situation disappear, nor will it cause the media to ignore the allegations until Favre is ready to make a statement.
If he is guilty, Favre should admit his wrongdoings. However, he should rightfully deny it if he is an innocent target. Favre staying quiet makes the public believe that he has something to deny.
Sports fans are willing to forgive athletes if they admit their mistakes — just look at Michael Vick. If Favre wants to sustain his marketability, he better speak up or he is going to lose his good reputation and his Wranglers.
Do you think that fans will be more forgiving of Favre if he answers the questions? What would you advise Favre to do in this situation?