We asked that question this afternoon to Kathy Connors, a veteran sports and entertainment publicity consultant.
Here's how she responded.
Alex Rodriguez made an important and necessary step in starting the process of moving forward from the steroid controversy at his press conference yesterday. He faced the music, responded to the questions asked, said he was sorry and expressed his desire to move on and return to being a baseball player. But there are still more questions than answers. Only time will tell how this saga shakes out for A-Rod.
One theme from yesterday’s press conference caught my attention and is worth some discussion. Between describing himself multiple times as “young," “curious,"“silly," “immature” and at one point referring to his behavior as “amateur hour," he made at least two references to “college."
To me, it was the most interesting and personally revealing thought during the press conference. He said at one point … “In some ways I wish I went to college and got an opportunity grow up at my own pace…” Despite all the fame and fortune baseball has afforded, Rodriguez seems to possess an unresolved desire to have attended college and taken part in that important rite of passage.
This reflection presents a potentially unique opportunity for Alex from both a personal growth and public relations standpoint. My advice to Alex…go to college!
The case studies, white papers, lectures, and expert opinions on the A-Rod steroid controversy and his overall career are being rendered as we speak and will be for some time. Why not do these exercises yourself, Alex? Be an active participant in the process. Teach a class? Take some classes?
There are sports management programs all over the country training people to pursue careers in the sports industry who would line up to get A-Rod involved. Rodriguez has strong ties to the University of Miami, where he has been a terrific benefactor of the university’s baseball program. The Hurricanes baseball facility bears his name as a result of exceptionally generous $3.9 million dollar gift, a positive story for A-Rod that is lost in all this unfortunate mess.
Find a college program, Alex. Get involved. Experiential learning is the hallmark of many sports management programs. For example, what better place to activate the proposed future partnership with Don Hooton and the Taylor Hooton Foundation, than with a group of young and determined future sports management professionals? These scholars are eager to get their hands on an academic project they can manage, publicize and market while also making a positive impact in their communities and society.
“Going to college” would allow Rodriguez the opportunity to create a vastly different and positive storyline as he attempts to repair his image. It would provide an additional chance for A-Rod to show to media, baseball, the fans and yes, even himself, that he is taking ownership of the situation, that his contrition is real, that his promise is sincere, and that he indeed wants to move forward in a positive way -- a potential win-win for all involved.
A-Rod wants to help kids and use his mistakes as a growth opportunity for himself and others. I can’t think of a more appropriate environment for A-Rod and others to learn and grow.
Kathy Connors is a sports and entertainment publicity consultant whose diverse professional background in public relations and corporate communications includes tenures in network television, collegiate athletic media relations and sports marketing agencies. She has conducted publicity campaigns for National Collegiate Player of the Year winners, Emmy Award winning television broadcasters and Olympic Gold Medalists. Connors can be reached at email@example.com.
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