ESPN recently published a story, or rather, a lengthy report, that was sure to give the NFL and the New England Patriots another major headache. The article highlighted that the New England Patriots may have illegally videotaped other NFL teams to get ahead in the game from 2000-2007. What’s the big deal? Well, this is not the first time the Patriots have been accused of spying on opponents, and the juicy report stated that it was more than a few times, among other questionable tactics. ESPN also reported that Commissioner Roger Goodell had the tapes destroyed during the investigation, infuriating other team owners. The report suggests that because close to nothing was done to punish anyone involved in Spygate, Goodell was harsher on the Patriots during this year’s Deflategate scandal.
So, with yet another rumor-filled report released (which was actually given a tighter edit after its original posting) about their past and present foul play, what should have been the right move by their PR spokesman, Stacey James? This is not James’ first go around with crisis communications for the Patriots. He has been through four Super Bowls plus Spygate — PR nightmare after PR nightmare.
This was the Patriots’ response to the ESPN article:
Do you think James handled this PR nightmare in the right way? Could the Patriots have answered differently or waited to say anything at all — especially since ESPN is fielding lots of criticism for the lack of sources in this report? Owning up to mistakes is important to getting back on track, but at this point is the reputation of the Patriots beyond repair?