Crisis Communications Advice for Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz
Several days back, a stunner of a story hit the Philadelphia media, accusing Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz of being selfish and uncompromising. The story, published on the website PhillyVoice.com, carried anonymous quotes that its author claimed to gather from a half-dozen teammates.
While no player has publicly disparaged the young quarterback, more than a dozen of Wentz’s teammates quickly went to social media to support their teammate. Still, the article became the talk of Philadelphia; leading to some debate whether Wentz is the golden boy fans have regarded him to be since he arrived in 2016.
Here, Ceisler Media & Issue Advocacy Senior Director Kirk Dorn, an authority on crisis management, offers his suggestions on a course of action for the Eagles franchise quarterback:
“For the first time in his career Carson Wentz has to stave off bad publicity. This is different from some of our clients, who have made an actual mistake and need to make amends. But he still does have a setback to overcome. Other than returning to his formerly elite form, which can’t happen until next season, how can Carson earn back his very positive personal reputation?
The fact that his teammates rushed to publicly defend him was a great start. But he can’t let the situation fester or fans will talk about it all off-season. Instead, he can turn this situation around quickly by taking steps that helped build his original stellar personal reputation.
1. He needs a public service event soon. It doesn’t have to be his own A01 charity, but just an event where he and his teammates perform a service with Carson out front. It’s an opportunity to do good and for teammates to talk about how much they look forward to having Carson back 100-percent healthy next season.
2. Carson should do an exclusive interview in which he shows his humanity, describing how difficult it has been on him to be unable to perform at his best, to not be there with his teammates on the field and how badly he wanted to Eagles to win, even without him. Importantly, he has to be able to make clear that if there is anyone on the team who views him as selfish he will work harder to show them that’s not the case.
By taking deliberate action, Carson Wentz can re-claim his reputation, win back fans who may have turned on him as the result of recent events and the controversial story, and erase any notion that he is a me-first, team-second kind of guy.”
Kirk Dorn is Senior Director at Ceisler Media's Philadelphia office and an expert in crisis management.