The League

Derede McAlpin
Crisis Litigator

Derede McAlpin

Vice President Levick Strategic Communications

The Bennetts' Brand Takes a Dive


While hundreds of thousands of people have mastered social media platforms such as the blogosphere, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube when it comes to the exchange of ideas and thoughts online, some professional athletes fail to use these social marketing tools properly to manage their brands. They've worked all their lives for these dream careers yet they diminish their status as elite athletes when they engage in childish and offensive antics.

A recent home video created by the Bennett Brothers is a perfect case in point. The video displayed racial stereotypes often depicted as offensive by blacks. To the players, the intent might have been to entertain, to gain attention or perhaps to just plain goof off. They might say "What's the big deal?" But because they filmed the video and then posted it on YouTube for everyone to see means there is a serious disconnect in their minds about what it means to be a pro athlete in the NFL, a public figure and a role model for others.

Today, the NFL Rookie Symposium spends a lot of time educating new players about how to take care of their finances, to plan for the future and about responsibility. Off field behavior is certainly a key topic but perhaps the NFL, the NFL Players Association need to go one step further and give rookies a deep introduction to social media. Such a course could explain to the new players what are the appropriate ways to use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube now that they are public figures. This would be money and time well-spent and only enhance the perception of the league in the minds of fans.

We might not ever know what the Bennett Brothers had in mind when they produced their "Black Olympics" video. After all, according to sources Marcellus Bennett envisions himself playing a "bigger role for the Cowboys' this season. The number 61 overall draft pick signed a four-year contract in 2008 so clearly the program values him. Barring unforeseen events like a career ending injury, he just might be on his way to something big.

Today, negative reports of NFL players dominate the headlines. Within minutes such events can affect the perception of players, team and, ultimately, the league. Therefore, in a time of instant and lasting impressions, knowing the strategies and tactics that bulletproof a professional athlete's online reputation is a career survival imperative.

Before the next posting, the Bennett Brothers might benefit from a lesson in history and we're not talking slavery. Look to the outcome of the Michael Jackson tribute produced by Ron Artest, which featured use of the controversial "N" word. And most importantly, look to the throngs of athletes that have lost valued endorsement deals.

YouTube has its power - use it wisely - before diminishing a valued brand with a walk down memory lane in the cotton fields.

By Derede McAlpin  |  July 16, 2009; 12:59 PM ET  | Category:  Dallas Cowboys , NFL , Race Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Integrate the Black Olympics! | Next: History Lesson


Please email us to report offensive comments.

I find these comments redundant.
Lately, I've noticed that NY times and Washington Post have not been rigorously checking for blaring grammatical errors

Posted by: MoCoBaby | July 16, 2009 10:23 PM

Hey MOCOBABY, "times" should be capitalized and there is no "." after errors in your comment. You are no one to be judging grammatical errors. I think this posting made an interesting point. I believe educating these athletes may help.

Posted by: ifixbonz | July 17, 2009 1:27 AM

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