In 1994, golf commentator Gary McCord found himself in hot water after using the terms “bikini waxed” and “body bags” during a live broadcast of the Masters Tournament on CBS. More than twenty years later, he’s swimming in the same tumultuous waters following his commentary of the 2016 Farmers Insurance Open.
This time, viewers picked-up on McCord’s alleged dropping of the line “raped by the wind,” as the final round of the Open wrapped-up this past Sunday. Little did they know, McCord actually said “raked by the wind,” which seemed appropriate considering the high winds and overall bad weather where tournament champion Brandt Snedeker (69) was the only of 71 players to finish the round under par; 23 gofers didn’t break 80.
Nevertheless, McCord’s misinterpreted comments (confirmed by CBS) overshadowed Snedeker and his $1.2 million purse, mainly because he had been quickly judged by a very rough court of public opinion in the past:
This is a perfect example of how diminished reputational equity continues to dwindle if steps aren’t taken to quickly regain public trust following an adverse issue. Fallston Group says time and time again, you should not ignore smoldering issues and hope they will go away with time and distance – they won’t; especially when you fuel your own fire. McCord used a unique approach in ‘94 (and by unique we mean atrocious), vanishing from future Masters’ commentary and stating “I don’t give a damn” and “I have no willingness to go back.” Perhaps his lack of regret and acknowledgement of wrongdoing landed him where he is today, whether his words were misinterpreted or not.
Remember, the decisions you make today will be judged by many for years to come. And in Gary McCord’s case, they are still judged 22 years later. A blatant slip-up in 1994, now overreaction in 2016. America is a very forgiving society when its people feel someone is truly remorseful for their transgressions. However, they are equally long in memory when a person allegedly “repeat offends” – the benefit of the doubt generally won’t fall one’s way. In this case, viewers misconstrued a word and “raked” its orator through the coals.
For more information on how to build, strengthen and defend your reputation, contact Fallston Group at 410.420.2001 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.