The national basketball association is the organization in question. The unit is a globally recognized professional basketball league made up of male players based in North America, and a total of thirty teams. The organization is widely considered to be the most effective and influential professional basketball league in the whole world (Grunig 2013, p. 80). The national basketball association is a very active and responsible member of the United States of America basketball and has since been recognised for its exemplary performance by the international basketball federation commonly referred to as the IBF (Sietel 2017, p. 80). The league came into existence in New York City in 1946 and was previously referred to as the basketball association of America. Later, the league adopted its NBA name on the 3rd of August 1949. The league boasts of both local and international team offices, which are coordinated from its head offices, located in the Olympic tower in New York. Considering its international presence and influence in sports activities, the national basketball association has a responsibility to remain cautious. All this is in order not to disappoint its stakeholders, as well as hold on to its positive brand image for the longest time in the international sports federation, and the entire world (Wilcox et al. 2006, p. 89).
The national basketball association has been recently accused of releasing tweets from the social media accounts of the organisation, which are regarded to be negative especially towards the opposing teams and players from other leagues. Tim McMahon came across a memo, which was sent by the deputy commissioner Tatum Mark, to all the thirty teams in the national basketball association (Sriramesh 2009, p. 50). The memo asserted that some social media accounts had crossed the line, which should not be the case as per the norms and code of conduct of the league. ESPN, which is the global sports television channel based in the United States, reported the events emanating from the association (Baskin et al. 20070, p. 27). The tweets directly mocked the opponents of the team on social media, which has been termed illegal and against the rules of the association.
Provoking exchanges were noted especially between players, which had the potential of damaging the reputation of the league (Herbert 2017, p. 1). Emphasizing rules which prohibit ridiculing and mocking opponents was the primary aim of the memo released to ESPN and forwarded to all the thirty teams of the league. According to the deputy commissioner Mark Tatum, the organisation ultimately understands the use of social media by teams and the importance of the same. However, there is also a need to understand the critical role that social media plays towards the business. Therefore, the inappropriate use of social media accounts by players from different leagues, coupled with negative exchanges between opponents is considered profoundly negative especially for the national basketball association. The deputy commissioner was also keen to highlight that most social media accounts have crossed the line, primarily through their conduct.
Twitter wars between payers from opponents should not be paraded in public, as this has a negative contribution towards the public image of the entire organisation (Herbert 2017, p. 1). Reputational damage subjects players to discipline by the league. The memo was issued as a result of the exchange between Memphis Grizzlies, guard C.J. McCollum, and small forward Chandler Parsons and Trail Blazers. This exchange began as a result of the post from trail Blazers official twitter account, which showed a GIF of parsons air balling a 3-pointer, from the 27th January match between the two teams. Parsons received numerous offers regarding contracts from Memphis and Portland, before opting to go with the Grizzlies the previous summer (Herbert 2017, p. 1). Parsons was still struggling to come around especially after the knee surgery the same season, which sparked a lot of social media attention in the international sports arena.
Parson, however, laughed after the entire exchange and was keen to affirm that an apology was not necessary, especially from the Blazers president and chief executive officer Chris McGowan (Herbert 2017, p. 1). However, the entire league officer considered this matter very important and dangerous, which could not just be shunned. The unfolding events apparently led to the publication of the article, especially with the organisation eager to conceal its image in public, in order not to make further losses, or act contrary to the expectations of all its stakeholders. The publication of the article was PR related, and all came up as a result of social media use, in this case, Twitter accounts. Every organisation is bound to do everything in its power, to preserve the positive image in the eyes of the public (Herbert 2017, p. 1). Therefore, the apology and criticism offered towards the events by the management of the league were a good move, and highly anticipated among players and the league in general, which corrected the organisation image within a short time.
The message was intended to reach both the players, participants in the national basketball association, and the general public (Lelinghan & Bruning 2010, p. 82). This message was directed to all stakeholders of the organisation. Based on the memo, three aspects were the focus of attention, and most emphases were directed towards three aspects that the organisation considers inappropriate material for social media accounts for all the teams;
- Embarrassing any individual or opponent, as well as any game official by the team members (Pincus et al. 2013, p. 30).
- Mimicking or impersonating any opponent or game official in a manner considered to be cynical or ill-motivated.
- Extending any criticism towards the national basketball association officiating programs.
The national basketball association has an image to protect. The public, who in this case, includes both fans of the teams and the fans of the opponents, need to be aware that the national basketball association recognises and appreciates their support (Helitzer 2012, p. 80). Therefore, having rules in place for the players and all participants are meant to assure the public that the association has no ill moves towards other teams, and is focused on taking part in healthy competitions and supporting every individual in the same field. The information was also intended for the players in all the thirty teams of the national basketball association. The organisation is also hoping to reach all players. The information is specifically meant to assure all players of how severe rules in place have to be taken and adhered to.
The organisation needs the target public to recognise their efforts in participating in the healthy competition and maintaining discipline among its players. At the same time, the target public needs to know that the organisation does not condone any adverse actions, especially in social media accounts and other press releases which focus on defaming the opponents (Whiteside & Hardin 2012, p. 50). The organisation aims at maintaining a constant positive image, and good relations with all stakeholders in the process, and upholding the morals and norms of international sports activities. The organization, also wants the public to restore their trust and confidence in the teams in the national basketball association. Through the apology and memo issued, the management is focused on retaining loyalty and trust, without compromising the unending support of the public towards its teams.
Teams need to be aware of the rules and norms considered acceptable by the national basketball association, especially about the use of social media by all teams. In game entertainment for instance, and the participants involved are entirely prohibited from making the opponents as well as team personnel and owners, together with game officials, including through videos, pictures and statements 9Newsom et al. 2012, p. 202). Based on the memo issued, the public relations practitioner will need to look into more reinforcement strategies to ensure that such public relations scandal is not witnessed in the team again. The management needs to take responsibility for all the faults and negative consequences and look into ways through which the act of the players can be cleared. The general public also needs to be reassured of the organisation's support and heartfelt apology based on what happened in the organisation.
The public relations practitioner needs to keep emphasising that the teams are free to use social media for fun and any other form of lighthearted banter, provided that their actions do not reflect poorly on any other league, team and individual players (Curtis 2010, p. 90). Teams and participants need to be trained on how to handle and conduct their social issues, to ensure that their social activities are not inappropriate, and do not end up affecting the league as a whole. There is also a need for the association to encourage all teams to train their social media staff members. The staff members need to know the kinds of postings which will boost the image of the organisation, and the kinds of postings which derail the organization's public image. Training programs and rules should continue being enforced to avoid future actions which may be more detrimental.
Baskin, O.W., Aronoff, C.E. and Lattimore, D., 2007. Public relations: The profession and the practice. McGraw-Hill Humanities, Social Sciences & World Languages.pp. 20-30.
Curtis, L., Edwards, C., Fraser, K.L., Gudelsky, S., Holmquist, J., Thornton, K. and Sweetser, K.D., 2010. Adoption of social media for public relations by nonprofit organisations. Public Relations Review, 36(1), pp.90-92.
Grunig, J.E., 2013. Excellence in public relations and communication management. Routledge.pp. 20-98.
Helitzer, M., 2012. The Dream Job: Sports Publicity, Promotion, and Public Relations. Univ Sports Press. 80.
Herbert, James.2017. Report: NBA cracks down on team Twitter accounts sending mean tweets. CBS SPORTS. Retrieved February, ten from
Ledingham, J.A. and Bruning, S.D., 2010. Public relations as relationship management: A relational approach to the study and practice of public relations. London: Routledge.pp. 78-90.
Newsom, D., Turk, J. and Kruckeberg, D., 2012. Cengage Advantage Books: This is PR: The Realities of Public Relations. Cengage Learning.pp. 200-209.
Pincus, J.D., Rimmer, T., Rayfield, R.E. and Cropp, F., 2013. Newspaper editors' perceptions of public relations: How business, news, and sports editors differ. Journal of Public Relations Research, 5(1), pp.27-45.
Seitel, F.P., 2017. The practice of Public Relations. New York: Pearson Education.pp. 56-90
Sriramesh, K., 2009. A theoretical framework for global public relations research and practice. In The Global Public Relations Handbook, Revised and Expanded Edition (pp. 42-63). Routledge.
Wilcox, D.L., Ault, P.H. and Agee, W.K., 2006. Public relations: Strategies and tactics. New York: Cambridge press. Pp. 89.
Whiteside, E. and Hardin, M., 2010. Public relations and sports: Work force demographics in the intersection of two gendered industries. Journal of Sports Media, 5(1), pp.21-52.