Making Mistakes And Making Things Right
I vowed to never get political with YouChoose. You won't ever see us play a gig to raise money for a politician of any party. You won't see us using our onstage events as a way to push our views about controversial topics. In this regard, we're agnostic. We want to make people feel good, provide an amazing value to our sponsors, and generate strong & positive awareness about the causes with which we work. That's what YouChoose is about.
So what is our point right now?
Two items in the news caught my interest. The first was what happened last week, when the Susan B. Komen Foundation withdrew funding of Planned Parenthood. The second item happened last week as well. A sports writer for the Hudson Valley's Journal News, Howard Megdal, was told by the team that he covers, the New York Mets, that they would not give him the necessary credentials to allow him into their ballpark, Citifield, to do his job and cover Mets games in 2012.
Scandal, foolishness and lies follow both stories.
We know about the Komen incident. They gave a b.s. reason for withdrawing funding, backtracked, gave another reason, then eventually, after about 10 million negative Tweets and Facebook posts, agreed to restore funding to Planned Parenthood. The reason was purely political, allegedly, but they wouldn't admit to it. Their initial decision was stupid, but they're follow up was even, um, stupider. They ignored the growing firestorm until it was a mushroom cloud too strong to beat back. Rather than deal with the situation honestly, they seemingly lied and then tried to take the high road. Susan B. Komen has an entire brand to rebuild now. You'd think they would have known better. (Read Real Time Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott and you'll immediately understand the Komen mistake has repeated over and over again for years by companies and people, i.e. the video below, "United Breaks Guitars.")
The Mets have strong brand recognition too. The monetary value of the brand is high, over $1 billion, but a losing team and scheming, dishonest, paranoid and untrustworthy ownership have turned the team into a joke. The issue in this case is Megdal's book, Wilpon's Folly, which discussed the financial collapse of the team's ownership group of father & son Fred & Jeff Wilpon, respectively, and Saul Katz. The Mets have not denied the contents of the book. But they have proven they are unhappy with the subject matter. And, in their pre-school-like eyes, have decided to take out their wrath on the book's author. Did they think Megdal would keep his mouth shut (and fingers off the keyboard)?
Is this as big a deal as the Susan B. Komen problem? Is it as bad as what the NYPD did two weeks ago when denying Commissioner Ray Kelly had agreed to participate in a documentary depicting Muslims in a bad light? Maybe not. Baseball is a game. Sure, it's a business, but at its core, it is a game. Komen is literally about life - saving lives. They should be pure. They should focus 100% on their mission - to aid those with breast cancer and work to find a cure. Once an organization like that steps into the politics of money, the purity dissolves, the halo disappears, and it is left open to mistakes. Bad ones.
How long will it take the Susan B. Komen Foundation to regain its luster? Possibly years. Or possibly only months. In today's 24-hour news cycle, what was a big deal last week might be a forgotten trivia question in the months to come. The Mets? Until the team is good again, they will have to resign themselves to understanding there will be fewer fans in the seats, lower revenues, and constant criticism from all fronts. To try to silence a critic in the Internet age is like trying to stop last year's Arab Spring. Once you light a fire, people will awaken and become more aware of your negative regime. The Wilpon Family should learn from the Komens and NYPDs of the world and own up to the truth. Otherwise, their folly may just be in its infancy.
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