Rich Gotham had it right. The Boston Celtics president had joined the team’s public relations staff and me on a conference call to discuss the preseason team media training session I would be conducting. When the conversation turned to Twitter, Gotham provided very specific guidance.

“Tell the players, ‘If you’re going to tweet, tweet with a purpose.’”

Gotham wanted to help the Celtics avoid the self-inflicted Twitter turnovers that can distract a team or even hurt the club on the court. Careless use of social media has resulted in fines (Brandon Jennings of the Bucks) and suspensions (White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen), players being benched (former Jets wide receiver David Clowney, now with the Panthers) and even waived (former Chiefs running back Larry Johnson).

... +Continue Reading


No NFL game has been missed and no practices canceled, but there’s been no shortage of trash talk across the league in recent weeks.  Phrases like “liar,” “modern-day slavery” and unions across the board have “exceeded their bounds” have become commonplace. And the combination of Twitter, Facebook and other 24-hour media outlets has created what amounts to a constant screaming match, unlike any sports labor conflict in the past.

The taunting and name-calling is all part of a high-stakes battle to sway public opinion. It’s a battle that will likely have little effect on ongoing negotiations but could go a long way toward determining how deeply the fallout will be from the lockout. It’s also a dangerous game. Any lopsided shift in public opinion not only could add pressure on one... +Continue Reading


The last thing one expects when prepping a kid for a history test is to spot a public affairs lesson in the story of the Tea Party.

No, not that Tea Party. The one 238 years ago. At Boston Harbor. Involving the stuff you drink.

What struck me as my daughter and I went over the events of that winter night in 1773 was how the Boston rebels spread the story of their tea-dumping escapade from colony to colony. They so masterfully laced the tale with real-life heroes, villains and action that the story ignited support for revolution among colonists who – despite high taxes and heavy-handed British rule – weren’t yet sold on the idea.

Storytelling. This, says former White House communications director Kevin Sullivan, is the most powerful way to drive a public... +Continue Reading


Chicagoans are a remarkably tolerant species of sports fan — they have to be, or they wouldn’t turn out three million strong at Wrigley Field every year to watch a fifth-place ball club. That’s a good thing for the unsettlingly blasé Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, who became the football equivalent of Mrs. O’Leary’s cow when a knee injury forced him out of a hyped effort to disrupt the Green Bay Packers’ Super Bowl run.

Cutler offered some barely coherent mumbles about his disappointment, then split for Los Angeles with his celebrity girlfriend, further offending Bears fans by walking around on a leg that should have required amputation if it had been damaged badly enough to force his removal from a Packers game. But that’s Cutler — on his best days, he has the social presence of... +Continue Reading


Traveling with President George W. Bush on Marine One three years ago, then-White House Communications Director Kevin Sullivan felt confident about the coming national media event, which called for Bush to give remarks at a military base and meet troops in a mess hall. But he hadn’t expected the president to lean forward and ask: “Is this thing indoors or outside?”

“He saw the look on my face… and he knew I wasn’t sure,” Sullivan shared with those attending the Public Affairs Council’s National PAC Conference this week in Miami, Fla. “Just when I thought I really had the material mastered, I had left off the most obvious detail.”

Sullivan could have fudged, but he had already learned the importance of this lesson: “If you don’t know, don’t guess.”

Speaking on the... +Continue Reading


WASHINGTON (AP) — Searching for unity out of tragedy, President Barack Obama will honor the victims of the Arizona mass shooting in personal terms and remind those in grief that an entire nation is with them. The president is again stepping into his role as national consoler, a test of leadership that comes with the job.

His mission at Wednesday’s memorial is to uplift and rally, not to examine political incivility.

Set to speak during an evening gathering in Tucson, Ariz., Obama will remember the six people killed in a point-blank assassination attempt against a congresswoman who had been meeting with constituents outside a grocery store. Remarkably, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is showing greater signs of recovery — including breathing on her own — just three days after a... +Continue Reading


Now we can follow Tiger Woods on Twitter, find him on Facebook and check out his new “official” website.

But we still don’t have the answers from Woods that could begin to repair the damage to his reputation that started with an SUV crash at the end of his driveway nearly a year ago, image experts said Thursday.

“We’re interested,” said Mike Paul of MGP & Associates PR, “but we’re not getting the facts that we want.”

Woods is making a “preemptive strike” to get ahead of negative news media coverage surrounding the one-year anniversary of the day-after-Thanksgiving crash that ignited a scandal over his extramarital affairs.

Paul’s verdict: It’s “failing miserably.”

Anne Rivers of BrandAsset Consulting agreed, saying Woods is seen as the most “... +Continue Reading


Brett Favre makes his last visit to Soldier Field Sunday.

Assuming the Bears don’t play Minnesota in the playoffs, this has to be his last game in Chicago, right? There’s no way he comes back for another season, right?

You never know with Mr. Favre, 41, but surely he has to be second-guessing himself for returning this year. He’s playing in major pain on a dysfunctional team that could be going nowhere with a loss this week.

Plus, if he isn’t in the spotlight, perhaps the Jenn Sterger thing never happens.

Mr. Favre’s image has taken a significant beating in the wake of alleged advances to Ms. Sterger when he was with the Jets in 2008. Conan O’Brien made up for lost time by inserting a joke about Mr. Favre into the opening monologue of his new show Monday.... +Continue Reading


It was great to be invited back by Polioptics founder Josh King to co-host the show once again this weekend on SiriusXM’s POTUS Channel 124. The show is available for iTunes download by clicking here and at

You could say this week’s show was about all about sales.

Our first guest, New York City Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson, joined us by phone from “the bullpen,” the open-... +Continue Reading


(Note:  Quoted below in this story regardng LeBron James’ decision to go on CNN’s “Larry King Live”)

The Cleveland Cavaliers have officially entered shakeup mode.

How it shakes out remains to be seen.

Less than a month before free agency and the draft, GM Danny Ferry announced that he would not extend his contract when it runs out at the end of the month. Ferry resigned immediately on Friday, a move owner Dan Gilbert said was made by mutual agreement.

Assistant GM Chris Grant was promoted to replace Ferry, which provides a notion of stability in a tumultuous offseason. With LeBron James set to appear on Larry King and embark on a nationwide free agent tour — hasn’t he already seen Madison Square Garden? — the Cavs press on without a coach, with a... +Continue Reading