Astros News Conference. PR Disaster.
There’s being sorry for cheating. There’s being sorry for getting caught. And then there are the “remorseful” Houston Astros.
Yesterday was the first day of spring training. It was also a day when the Astros had the opportunity to reclaim a scintilla of integrity for cheating. They blew it.
Whether it was reading from scripts, sanctimonious pronouncements about how the cheating didn’t help them win the 2017 World Series or the tone deaf answers from ownership, the Astros screwed up a great chance to partially redeem themselves.
Not sure who advised the Astros on PR but they should be sued for malpractice. Having the players read from scripts made them sound clueless, aloof and arrogant.
Reiterating the message that they still are the 2017 World Series champs and that, as the owner said, the cheating had no impact on their title destroys what credibility they had left (which wasn’t much).
In fact, if the Astros players and owners were given Pinocchio awards for lying, their bat-shaped wooden noses would stretch the length of Texas because they were lying.
So, what should they have done?
First, don't read from scripts. It just looks bad and frankly, no one believes you.
Second, acknowledge that there was cheating, it was systemic and that it did impact the outcome of games including ...
Third, just say what everyone knows: if they hadn’t cheated, they would not have won the World Series.
Fourth, have the owner go out there once and own the scandal. He threw the manager and the team under the bus, or train rather, and made it seem like it was everyone else‘a problem. The reality is that he is the owner of the team and needs to take the bad with the good that comes with it.
Let‘s face it - the Astros cheated, they wouldn’t have won the 2017 World Series without doing it and they continue to be in denial that there is any connection.
The first step in recovery is acceptance. For them to get back in the good graces of fans (but not Yankees, Dodgers or Nats fans - that will never happen), they need to face the music that they cheated, not just break the rules, but cheated.
And in doing so they will learn the number one lesson in PR - speak the truth and it will set you free.