As pitcher Roberto Osuna returns to court Wednesday in Toronto for the latest hearing in a domestic violence case, the Houston Astros, his new employer, are treading the increasingly narrow line that separates the lofty quest for redemption from gritty zero-tolerance reality.


On that point, initially, the Astros are struggling. The defending World Series champions, who acquired Osuna via trade Monday from the Blue Jays, are being described in the national sports media as moral bankrupts, sacrificing a portion of their boundless supply of local goodwill for an arm, no matter how tainted its owner, that can get outs in the ninth inning.

Osuna, who has not pitched since he was arrested in May and is serving a 75-game... +Continue Reading


Published Oct. 22, 2015 /

At the dawn of 2015, I made a New Year’s resolution. I vowed to try to rely less on email and actually use the good old-fashioned phone to reach out to public relations people on my various beats. Even if I didn’t have anything on the agenda, I planned to dial someone’s number just to see what was going on.

You know, how’s the family? What’s the latest at your place?

Of course, New Year’s resolutions never stick. So along with my vow to read more and eat less, I haven’t come close to calling PR folks as much as I had hoped.

I make that admission to show that I am just as guilty as anyone in being part of a horrible trend in media: Journalists and PR people have... +Continue Reading


We’re thrilled to be featuring longtime JSH&A friend Kevin Sullivan. For years, “Sully” has been a wonderful resource for us and our clients, offering advice on all things media related. His new ebook, Breaking Through, is a must read. Thoroughly entertaining and informative, it offers clear counsel on what to do when the media comes calling. I sat down with Sully and asked him a few questions about it. A summary of our chat is featured below.

What prompted you to write this book?

Mostly it was the encouragement of my wife, Jo Anne. She had heard my stories more than a few times and thought that PR people – especially those starting... +Continue Reading / August 9, 2015

Paul Chryst was a picture of comfort on the morning of the final day of July, his legs stretched out as he sat in a booth at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago.

The hard part, for all intents and purposes, was over at that point for the University of Wisconsin football coach, who was passing time by chatting with his older brother Rick.

The TV above them was showing Big Ten Media Days coverage on Big Ten Network. On the screen at the time was Nebraska coach Mike Riley, who was at a podium inside a ballroom a short walk from where the Chrysts were seated in the hotel overlooking Lake Michigan.

Paul Chryst wasn’t paying much attention as Riley answered questions during a 15-minute session with reporters from around the... +Continue Reading


 July 30, 2015 /

Kevin Sullivan’s vast career in public relations has taken him from the NBA to NBC to the White House. Sports always have been a focal point, even for the most important job interview of his life.
In 2006, Sullivan was recommended to serve as the communications director for George Bush. However, he still had to pass the test in meeting the president.

Sullivan knew Bush, a former owner of the Texas Rangers, was a big sports fan. So he was ready when the president asked, “Where are you from?”

“Chicago, sir. White Sox, not Cubs,” said Sullivan, a native of Chicago’s South Side.

Sullivan obviously had the credentials, but the sports connection helped seal the deal. He... +Continue Reading


August 3, 2015 /

Several years ago I was sitting in the stands at the US Open during a rain delay with Doug Band, who was then President Bill Clinton’s Deputy Assistant. Doug was at the Open with POTUS that day, and as we waited for the courts to dry, we got to talking about the similarities between what we look for in the business of sports and what the political cycle entails. I mentioned the rain delay would drive play that night on CBS into prime time, which was huge for us, and he laughed and talked about how so much revolved around getting those eyeballs and doing what was essential for success in his business; winning hearts and minds through... +Continue Reading


Politico / April 23, 2015

EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK, Fla. – This week, President Barack Obama took a guided tour of sawgrass and alligators and brought Bill Nye the Science Guy along on Air Force One to tape a White House website video about climate change.
Next week? Tune in for the next episode of Barack Obama, stunt president.

The White House is developing an outreach strategy for the last year and a half of Obama’s presidency designed to keep him relevant to the public debate even as Hillary Clinton and the Republican candidates dominate the national news more and more.

White House aides say they recognize that the prospect of Obama doing another factory tour followed by 10 minutes of remarks appeals less and less to reporters, editors and producers — and... +Continue Reading


Dallas Morning News / April 27, 2013

There has not been a more respected sports public relations type in this market than Kevin Sullivan, who spent 18 seasons with the Mavericks.

Sully arrived at the birth of the franchise in 1980 as a wet-behind-the-ears assistant from Purdue and left a grizzled veteran after Donald Carter sold the team to Ross Perot in 1996.

His subsequent career path has been storybook. From a a brief stint at Dallas 2012, which unsuccessfully tried to woo the Summer Olympics to North Texas, he moved to New York where he served as NBC Sports’ public relations boss. That eventually triggered a move upstairs to head up the public relations effort of the entire NBC network.

At the start of President George W. Bush’s second... +Continue Reading


WASHINGTON — It was always his mess to clean up. That’s what Americans expect from their presidents.

And so as the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico became the worst in U.S. history, President Barack Obama took responsibility in the only obvious way left.


“In case you were wondering who’s responsible, I take responsibility,” Obama said at a Thursday news conference arranged to make that very point. “It is my job to make sure that everything is done to shut this down.”

No more White House parsing about how BP is legally responsible for plugging the leak and paying the cost, even though that remains accurate. Obama knew that his own accountability was needed for the angry Gulf Coast communities, for an administration struggling to nail its message... +Continue Reading


Every Wednesday, Texas on the Potomac presents “Where are they now?” Each week, we update you on the whereabouts of a Texan who played a role in national politics and policy. Our subject today is Kevin Sullivan.

Texan on the Potomac: Kevin Sullivan

Age: 50
Job on the Potomac: White House Communications Director for President George W. Bush

Best known for: Directing White House communications in the final years of George W. Bush’s presidency, unflappable demeanor, uncanny resemblance to actor Oliver Platt

Early Life: Kevin Sullivan was born November 9, 1958 in Evergreen Park, Ill. He grew up on the southwest side of Chicago and earned a Bachelor of Science... +Continue Reading