• Devin Abell

Examining the Press/Media Reaction Following Jermaine Whitehead's Meltdown


Photo courtesy of ESPN.com

On November 3rd following a Cleveland Browns lost to the Denver Broncos, Browns safety Jermaine Whitehead had meltdown on Twitter after a performance that many fans criticized online.


Whitehead attacked many tweeters, including users such as sports junk-posters to professional sports news anchors.


In his responses, Whitehead used a hefty amount of profanity. As well written threats of violence towards the users.

White head also used racial slurs numerous times in his responses. Including towards former NFL players and now current Browns radio and tv host Dustin Fox.


Whitehead's Twitter account was suspended within 15 minutes of his online tirade. It has which been restored.


In the mean time, Whitehead move to Instagram to respond to more criticism on public post and in his DM's.


The Cleveland Browns organization urged Whitehead to delete the tweets, but he refused their plea.


The following day, the Cleveland Browns PR team put out a press release on Whitehead's tweets, disavowing his actions and comments from the organization.

The Browns dealt with Whitehead quickly by releasing him 12 hours after his meltdown. They made their announcement via Twitter early in the morning.


Whitehead has since apologized via Instagram for actions.


Looking over this Whitehead incident, I can see how a big a job it is for PR managers to control the pending dumpster that will explode.


I see how quickly a PR manager must be able to mange damage control before an incident escalates.


I also know PR managers also implement preventive plans, such as telling players to not go on social media after a game to give them "cool down time". As well as giving them time before speaking with the press to decompress after a loss or poor performance.


PR managers also construct lessons or strategies to teach rookies and new players how to conduct themselves with the media and on social media to represent themselves as well as the organization in a positive light.


After learning about what a PR manager/staff does along with this incident, it puts into perspective for me how important PR teams are for sports organizations, as well as any other corporate organization.

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