by Dan Ward
I recently wrote about the First Rule of Public Relations: Do the Right Thing (hat tip to Frank Stansberry). The rule is a good reminder that what you do is much more important than what you say.
I’ve been thinking about that rule a lot since TMZ released the video of now-former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his wife in an Atlantic City elevator. Following release of that video, the Ravens did the right thing, releasing Rice from his contract and denouncing his abuse.
But I have to ask, where were the Ravens months ago when it became clear that Rice had committed a horrendous act of domestic violence? Where were they when video was made public showing Rice dragging his unconscious wife from an elevator and dropping her, face-first, to the floor?
Instead of taking action then, they defended their star player, calling him a “good guy” and releasing one of the most offensive tweets of all time, saying the domestic abuse victim “regrets the role that she played the night of the incident.” (A tweet that was only removed following release of the second video.)
The Ravens knew that Rice had knocked his wife unconscious in that elevator, but they only chose to act when video was released showing the actual punch. They chose to act as a “PR move” when the video stirred understandable public outrage. But when you know something is wrong, you shouldn’t wait; you should take action.
The First Rule of Public Relations needs an update – Do the Right Thing, and Do it Now.