A crisis is considered any situation that is threatening or could threaten to harm people or property, seriously interrupt business, damage reputation and/or negatively impact the bottom line.
Crisis management may be one of the most difficult areas of public relations. Crisis situations are never planned which is why this area is complicated. No matter how much planning is done every situation is different. Along with being a difficult area, crisis management is also one of the most important. How the crisis team can handle themselves during the crisis will actually make or break the company and/or organizations credibility.
Crisis situations are going to happen regardless, but what the most important thing is how the organization will react. For crisis management there is a plan of action that every public relations practitioner must abide by to ensure that all the bases are covered. The six components to responding to a crisis according to Public Relations: The Profession and the Practice:
1. Have a designated spokesperson.
2. Gather all facts and verify them.
3. Set up a media center.
4. Do not release names of dead or injured until relatives are notified.
5. Respond to all media inquiries, but if you don’t know the answer, say so.
6. Do not speculate.
A recent crisis that has seemed to hit the sports spotlight is the issue with concussions. Concussions have been getting a lot of play lately because many older athletes have been getting diagnosed with medical issues predominantly from concussions. Not only is this crisis affecting the NFL but also has made its way to college football. The crisis continues to grow because no one is exactly sure on how to handle the situation.
Sports crisis management isn’t much different from the normal crisis management, but there tend to be more image issues over anything else. Sure, businesses have their images but with sports it’s all about keeping the good image to keep the fans coming back. The fan base is the biggest thing in sports, the way they idolize the teams and players is the main factor that generates success for these organizations.
Not every person or company is perfect; there is always room for incidents to occur. That is what public relations practitioners are there for, to help with the crisis. As said before crisis management is one of the most important areas of public relations. With sports, even though it is not much different, the PR team deals with a bigger scope because of the players, coaches, team owners, and associations including the National Hockey League, National Basketball Association, National Football League, and the Major League Baseball. There should never be a reason that a crisis could not be taken care of with all of the steps that are out there and published for those that need to be educated on them.