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Media Skills Training

Russell Wilson - Watering Down Credibility

Last week Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson made an uncharacteristic public blunder. Time will tell if it’s the beginning of the end of his perch atop a tightly controlled and almost unblemished public persona.

In an upcoming cover article for the September 10 edition of Rolling Stone Magazine, Wilson comments that a product called Reliant Recovery Water prevented him from suffering a concussion after a tough hit in a game with the Green Bay Packers.

Turns out, Wilson is an investor in the company that sells the water. That would be enough of a red flag. Then the head injury medical experts weighed in to say Wilson’s comments were flat out dangerous and should not be taken seriously.

He has since walked his statements back a bit. In Larry Stone’s August 27 article in the Seattle Times, Wilson is quoted as saying his comments were “perceived wrong,” whatever that means.

In Seattle and the rest of Seahawks Nation, aka: The 12’s, Russell is the biggest sports superstar we’ve had since Ken Griffey Jr. This community cares about him and is invested in his success in the same way. But…

Wilson is human and he may be falling into a familiar trap for celebrities and superstars, reading and believing his own press clippings. The public goodwill he has in the bank may help minimize the damage from this if he handles the backlash correctly. Hopefully his advisors are giving him good counsel.

I would suggest he admit he’s not a medical expert and he recommends that people consult their healthcare professionals if they have questions or need treatment. If he has no credible scientific evidence about his company’s products, then he’s just advertising!

There will be many forces trying to bring Wilson down, literally, or distracting him in his efforts to keep the Seahawks the best in the football universe. He needs to watch out for self-inflicted damage to his credibility and the valuable personal brand he has built over the past three years. It can be gone like water down a drain if he’s not vigilant about what he says when he’s in the spotlight.

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