It appears that the “cool” thing to do these days among celebrities and athletes is to voice their opinions about politics and bash President Trump. From the Grammys and Academy Awards to the NFL and now the winter Olympics, political talk surrounds these organizations and events.
Recently, Olympic athlete Lindsey Vonn told a CNN reporter “ I hope to represent the people of the United States, not the president. I want to represent our country well. And I don’t think there are a lot of people currently in our government that do that.”
Further, into the interview, the 33-year-old skier who was wearing a Red Bull hat (her sponsor) was asked if she was invited to the White House would she go? Her answer, “Absolutely not,” she told CNN.
Now, before you think I’m taking a political side here, I’m not. This is not a pro-President Trump article. This is about reputation management among athletes and why they should not mix politics and their job.
Here are a few things that these athletes should be thinking about. This also applies to celebrities, influencers, and business leaders.
Stay on Point
If I was their publicist I would be telling them to stay on point and focus on the topic. The goal is to generate publicity about what they are doing, not politics. The media will try to get an answer about their political views, especially if they have been vocal about it on social media. The key for these athletes is to divert the question and turn the conversation back to the main point of the interview.
You are a Role Model
Athletes are supposed to be role models, especially to children. If they are on social media or doing interviews bashing the President or refusing to stand for the national anthem, what is that saying to our children? Let’s get back to basics, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.
Athletes have major sponsors that are spending tens of thousands of dollars. The last thing these companies want is to be involved in a political discussion. If that Olympian or athlete is wearing something with that companies name on it and they generate publicity surrounding politics, that company is now involved. Like it or not, their name is on every news outlet that is covering the story.
Currently, if you Google Lindsey Vonn, the only news stories that come up are about her bashing President Trump. That is not the press that she should want, nor do the sponsors.
It will certainly be interesting to see what happens over the next few months with the winter Olympics and how other athletes handle political questions.
Remember - sometimes the most powerful statements you can make are those that don’t require any words.