Thursday, May 08, 2008

A-Rod sucks at public relations

Marv Blackstone
Editor-in-chief


God damn it, A-Rod.

I've spent the last several years defending you against critics, telling them that they had you pegged all wrong. I said they couldn't possibly know you. They don't know how you tick.
But still, you kept doing things to embarrass yourself. And I kept defending you.

But damn it, man. Passing out during the birth of your kid? What the hell? That's the last straw. You're dead to me.

See, I'm not sure you're aware of this, but there is a thing called public relations. It helps control how you are viewed in the public eye. Your image.

When you slap at Bronson Arroyo's glove, or talk about how you and Derek Jeter don't sleep over anymore, or get caught hanging around with burly strippers, or pass out during fucking childbirth, it hurts your image.

LeBron James understands this. His handlers carefully control his image and his likeness. He's a brand right now. When people think of LeBron James, they think of a cool badass who dominates the game. When they think of you, they picture a pretty boy passed out on a tile floor while his wife gives birth.

You and LeBron both play your sports at incredibly high levels. So why the difference in public perception?

Because you suck balls at public relations.

Back in the 1980s, during a brief respite from journalism, I worked in the PR world. I had just been fired from the San Jose Mercury News for stealing the break-room fridge, and was looking for a new gig. Thanks to an old connection, I landed at Nike.

At the time, Nike was known as a running shoe company. That was their niche. But I barged in and told Nike that no one gave a shit about Steve Prefontaine and running. They nearly threw me out, but then I told them -- sign Michael Jordan. Sign that rookie from North Carolina and let's build a shoe for him.

They listened.

So we created the Air Jordan line. In fact, I designed the first shoe. I decided that Spike Lee was the perfect complement for Jordan's first television commercials. I said we should pony up the cash to get these ads on prime-time TV.

The ads were a huge hit. Kids loved them, and begged for the shoes. I remember a meeting I had with him, where I told him he needed to keep his image squeaky clean. And if he did, parents would embrace him as a role model for their kids.

He listened, and the Jordan brand took off. The man knew how to market himself. He was savvy. People adored him. Eventually, the man became the second recognizable face in America, behind Jesus Christ.

All because of me, really.

But that's beside the point. The point is that you, A-Rod, need to get some PR help. I'm available, should you need my services. I can also negotiate deals for you, cook great Lebanese food, and make balloon animals that look like genitalia. Contact me for an all-inclusive package.

Remember "Be Like Mike?" That was my idea. And really, who would actually want to be like A-Rod at this point?

Stop looking like a douchebag, you douchebag. Get an image.

Call Marv today!

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