In past years, institutions ranging from Wall Street to politics, and clergy to sports have seemingly become soiled. We see this as legends like Mickey Mantle and Joe Dimaggio, who were both seen as legends, give way to Tiger Woods, Mike Tyson, corrupt referees and the DWI or arrest of the weekend. It has been a never-ending saga of poor conduct, greediness, sky-high ticket pricing and all around bad behavior.
One of the very few people who kept themselves above the terrible conduct was Derek Jeter, who sacrificed his body diving into the stands to win games, stands as a positive influence to fans and players, and – even off the field – upholds a great image, despite being considered a “playboy.” Now, however, both the Yankees and Jeter seem determined to ruin that story, with the Yankees urging their team captain who has played his entire career for the team to “test the market” and Jeter retorting with a $23-$24 million ask. Neither action scores many points. Many of us in fairytale land were hoping that they’d make a deal; but, of course, that would be just too good to be true and before this is settled they will both do a tremendous amount of Public Relations damage to one another.
If you ask me, more people should follow the sports views portrayed in one of the greatest movies ever, A Bronx Tale, where the character Sonny explained to Cologero that his baseball hero, Mickey Mantle, didn’t care about him or anyone else. So, why should the boy care about him? Sonny explained, “Mickey Mantle would never pay your rent or do anything for you,”, and the boy went home and tried to throw away his baseball cards because Mickey Mantle would never pay his rent.
My view on sports was never the same after seeing that movie, and I’d venture the longer this Jeter story continues the more likely it is to destory one of the few positive images which exists still in professional sports today. And, I’ll bet many boys will throw away their baseball cards if this behavior continues.
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Ronn is the CEO of 5WPR and author of best selling PR book, For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations, and a regular contributor to Fox News, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Insights Wired, Everything-PR and more.