I have said it before and I will say it again: everything is public relations.
Everything you say, even to an obscure, tiny media outlet, is going to be scrutinized. Everything you do, even if it is after an event, will be noticed and watched. Chick-Fil-A and the NFL have learned this the hard way.
Chick-Fil-A's COO Tim Tassopoulos recently made this comment—what some might consider pretty bland and obscure—to a relatively unknown media outlet: “As we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are.” That comment is now a punchline about a company that most people thought they knew pretty well. Instead of making things "clear," they muddied their own smooth-sailing waters. Time will tell if their boats start sinking.
Likewise, the NFL—a corporation, first and foremost—can't seem to get its employees in line. Apparently, the thing we all should have learned in Kindergarten--how to be a good sport—has been lost on this generation of adult men. Their employees are showing everyone what sore losers look like at the end of their most-watched, prime-time games.
So how do you put the Genie back in the bottle when you face PR nightmares of this magnitude? It's called Crisis PR. Yes, it's a thing. There are firms that deal with this every day, and I'm sure they are getting the big bucks right now as they roll out a strategy to get back into the good graces of chicken sandwich lovers everywhere who just want to watch a great game.
But here's a secret no crisis publicist will tell you. It is easier to leave the Genie in the bottle.
It was actually Moses who first showed us the best crisis prevention plan ever developed by a CEO. The Ten Commandments aren't just necessary elements for the Judeo-Christian faith, they are really good PR ideas.
Don't be deceitful.
Don't wish for or take something someone else has.
Don't try to kill anyone.
Just those three commandments alone would have kept both Chick-Fil-A and the NFL out of trouble.