The Bears and White Sox are studies in how NOT to handle a PR crisis

The Bears and White Sox are studies in how NOT to handle a PR crisis

It’s a rough time to be a fan of Chicago sports.

The Bears are 0-3, flat out terrible, dragging fans back through repressed memories of Marc Trestman’s failed tenure. The Chicago White Sox are struggling to the finish line after one of the most disappointing seasons in recent memory. The Bulls are likely to be without Lonzo Ball for the entire season. The Sky snuck into the playoffs, but were unceremoniously bounced by Las Vegas in the first round. The Red Stars are in last place. The Cubs have won three straight and are still in the Wild Card hunt, but they’ve been unreliable all season.

In short, Chicago sports fans are not having much fun, overall.

Amidst all that, there have been two sports mysteries that we still don’t have any answers for. First, two women were shot at Guaranteed Rate Field while taking in a White Sox game from the bleachers in August. The other? The mysterious disappearance of Bears defensive coordinator Alan Williams prior to his abrupt resignation back on September 20. Fans have received virtually no explanation in either case.

A month after the shooting at a White Sox home game, it seems police and the team still can’t even agree on whether the shooter was inside or outside the stadium. While team owner Jerry Reinsdorf says it’s unlikely the shots came from inside the park, but Chicago PD disagrees, insisting the angle of the wounds on one of the women suggest a gun misfired while in someone’s pocket. Per the Chicago Tribune:

Investigators have been weighing whether the woman who sustained the more severe injuries was somehow able to bring a gun into the stadium that later discharged while she was in the left field bleachers, according to police sources not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation. That woman has not been cooperative with Chicago Police Department investigators in the weeks since she was shot, sources said.

This leaves White Sox fans with a great deal of seemingly important questions, such as why is someone bringing a gun to a baseball game in the first place? Are more people bringing guns to baseball games? How is one person managing to stonewall an entire investigation into shooting? Are the metal detectors at Guaranteed Rate Field easily circumventable? Why didn’t the White Sox stop the game after finding out two people were shot in left field? And, most importantly, how is it that a month has passed without a basic answer as to whether fans are safe going to MLB ballparks?

Of course, the lack of answers, as always, has led to a storm of speculation on social media. Perhaps the conspiracy theory with the most legs is that one that suggested the woman got past metal detectors by hiding the gun in her belly fat. Meanwhile, the woman’s attorney denies that she had a gun on her at all.

“She denies bringing a firearm into the stadium and further denies having anything to do with the discharge of a firearm at the stadium,” attorney John Malm said in a statement. “We will continue investigating this matter further to pursue justice on behalf of our client who sustained serious personal injuries as a result of this shooting.”

Does that clear it up for you? I didn’t think so.

Meanwhile, further north up the lake, the Bears are still playing defense (off the field, anyway) when it comes to the abrupt departure of former defensive coordinator, Alan Williams, who resigned last week after a brief absence in Week 2. The Bears, as they are wont to do, handled the case in the worst way possible, refusing to give any explanation for Williams’ absence, but somehow leaving the beat reporters with the impression that it had nothing to do with William’s health or family.

That made it somewhat awkward when Alan’s resignation statement said he was stepping down to care for his health and family.

Of course, prior to Williams’ departure, Bears head coach Matt Eberflus deepened the mystery tenfold by giving illuminating answers like these to questions about Williams’ whereabouts:

Outstanding media relations from the entire staff.

Seeing the opening they needed, the “insiders” dove right in with a host of wild theories. Here’s the one that got the most traction:

The Bears wound up emphatically denying that Halas Hall was raided by the feds, that Charls “Peanut” Tillman (yes, he’s an FBI agent) was involved in anything happening in Lake Forest, but the whole thing was weird. And it continues to be weird. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Williams resigned as the result of activity that was “inappropriate,” but not criminal.

I can think of a lot of things that are inappropriate, and most of them are also criminal in one way or another. The Bears added fuel to all the speculation by issuing a perfunctory statement on Williams’ resignation which, glaringly, did not wish him well or good luck, which is pretty standard when people leave teams due to health and family matters. Here, look:

“Alan Williams submitted his resignation as the team’s defensive coordinator this afternoon.”

That’s a hell of a way to dispel the rumors that a guy had to step down for something nefarious.

No matter what the cause, Halas Hall seems to be in complete disarray, and now everyone is just waiting for the actual story to ​​come out. If the Bears are trying to minimize distractions, they’re going about it entirely the wrong way.

When it comes to the White Sox and the Bears, fans deserve some answers. That does not mean teams should release personal information about employees or toss a woman who was shot under a very public bus, but it’s inexcusable that fans have as little information as they do.

If teams want to complain about rumor-mongering and wild theories on social, they have no one to blame but themselves. The news cycle runs 24 hours, seven days a week, and everyone is constantly looking for content to drive traffic. Tossing out bits and pieces of a story is just asking for social media to run wild with speculation, and that’s exactly what’s happened in both cases.

That’s not good for the parties involved or the teams. And it’s certainly not fair to the fans.

Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.