Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Brett Favre, Sexting, and Social Media Crisis Management

Brett Favre, the NFL, and the Minnesota Vikings have a social media public relations crisis that needs to be resolved immediately. This matter was allegedly caused by Brett Favre's innapropriate use of social media and electronic communication devices.

According to Deadspin, in 2008 while Brett Favre was playing for the New York Jets he contacted Jets hostess Jenn Sterger mulitple times in order to spend some "personal time" with her. It appears that Ms. Sterger was not interested in spending "personal time" with Favre. On Deadspin.com's website it is also alleged that Favre may have tried to have inappropriate contact with other females who had some type of professional relationship with the Jets organization. The messages allegedly left by Favre on Sterger's voice mail appear to be very troubling. In addition, it is alleged that Favre sent pornographic photos of himself electronically to Sterger.

On December 2, 2009, and on December 10, 2009 I discussed how Tiger Woods should handle his social media crisis. Unfortunately, Woods did not follow my advice and he lost his family, his reputation, millions of dollars in endorsements, and the ability to focus on his professional career.

As of this writing, Brett Favre has not publicly addressed in detail this matter and has reportedly only apologized to his teammates for being a distraction. Favre has said little to the media regarding the allegations against him. However, Favre has not stated that he is innocent of these allegations.

If Favre directly addresses this matter he has to be careful about what he says because there may be legal issues in addition to the NFL personal conduct policy issues that need to be resolved. At first glance, it appears that any possible legal issues may only be civil and not criminal in nature. One possible legal issue may be sexual harassment. However, this situation is fluid and may change depending on the facts uncovered.

Therefore, I advise Favre to do what I advised Woods to do: sit down with your legal counsel and tell them exactly what happened so your legal team can draft and execute a strategy that will keep your reputation intact. Favre's relationship with his family, fans, sponsors (Ex: Wrangler), the NFL community, etc... depends on Favre working closing with his legal team to resolve this matter. If there is a possibility that Favre's accuser has evidence that may damage Favre's reputation it may be in Favre's best interests to reach a confidential settlement with his accuser so Favre can keep his image intact. I would hate to see Favre experience the same type of downward spiral that has engulfed Tiger Woods.

This matter should be a wake up call to everyone to watch what you post on the Internet. In particular, you should be careful about what you write in an email, what you say in a voice mail or text message, and what you post on a social media site such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, etc...

To learn how to protect your social media profile you may contact me at http://www.shearlaw.com/.

Copyright 2010 by the Law Office of Bradley S. Shear, LLC. All rights reserved.