Our guest is Hud Englehart, who is a specialist in communications. I'm going to ask Hud to introduce himself. He is a longtime communications specialists in corporate world and in sports. He also teaches crisis communications at Northwestern and in the school at Medill and this is his forte, and I've particularly asked him to be here to talk about crisis communications in sports. But first, could you introduce yourself, Hud? Sure. Thanks, Kenny, for having me. I've been in the communications business for many decades, not going to tell you how many, and I've had a very interesting career. I've worked both on the corporate side as a public relations and communications chief. I've worked in agencies for the bulk of my career. I even ran a sports communications agency where we ran PGA tournament, some rural professional skating tournaments, and all those sorts of good things. But one of my proudest accomplishments as being on the edge of the faculty at Northwestern to be able to teach crisis because over the years I've been in this business, I've run into a few and have gained a little bit of insight, I hope, on how to manage them. So, what do we consider to be a crisis? Because it seems to me if you're a corporation or a sports team, every day is a crisis. Well, I don't disagree with that. Particularly, since I'm sitting in a state government at the moment and believe me every hours the crisis, not just every day. But there is a difference obviously. I think crisis is defined by two things. One is when there is an actual threat to your brand reputation, and the other is when that threat is such that it disrupts the organization in a way that affects your management of it. In fact, it consume so much of your time that you almost forget about the data they are operating items in front of you, and you end up managing the crisis as opposed to managing the organization. That can happen in virtually any organization, whether it's a private company, not-for-profit organization, a sports entity, government. So, those are the two things that I think really define them. That's fair. So, is sports any different because of the layers of stakeholders? You have athletes, and then you have teams, then you have leagues, does that change the way crisis is dealt? Well, I come from the school that says you can plan for every crisis. Part of that planning process, my students won't attest I hope, is trying to identify who you need to communicate with when the crisis occurs. So, in the sense that you have layers of constituents and stakeholders that you need to address, sports is no different than a commercial enterprise that has customers, shareholders, vendors, suppliers, government entities. All of us have layers and layers of constituents that we need to communicate with. Sports maybe a little different in that. Many of the constituents are easier for all of us to see than might be with a corporation, for example, where you rarely see vendors and suppliers kind of on the top of a radar screen. For sports and when you see the equipment makers this day and age, you see the fans, you certainly see the athletes, you see the general managers, you see the scouts, you see virtually anybody who is against the sport. So, I mean, virtually, everyone shows up at the table. So, when a crisis occurs, your mission as the communication specialists on the team is to help decipher which of those audiences and in what priority they should be communicated with. So, is there a framework for handling crisis that you would share with our audience? So, this is your quarter course because Medill's headquarter is your semester course for the lingo for the rest of the world summarized in two minutes. Yeah. Yeah, actually, my construct is fairly straightforward. I believe that what an organization does at crisis, the actions it takes, are the critical element in crisis planning, crisis communication. You cannot tell a story that's effective if it doesn't line up with what your organization is actually doing. That means that as the professional communicator or journalist inside your company or your sports organization, you need to help management focus on what they're going to do at the moment of crisis as opposed to what they're going to say at the moment of crisis because the say is going to be driven by whatever you do with them at the moment. It's seems like a mildly simple concept, it's a mildly difficult one to enact. The reason I say that is that companies and sports organizations have trouble deciding on what they should protect at the moment of a crisis. A company may choose to protect a board member or a manager, chief executive officer. All of those it seems to me are reactions that make you believe that the enterprise doing the deciding felt that the brand existed inside the halls of the company as opposed to inside the heads of the people who have to deal with the company, and that's where I come to class with management oftentimes. The brand doesn't exist in your office Mr. Chief Executive or you Mr. Sports owner, brand exists in the head of the customer who has to consume your product or consume your entertainment or whatever it is. So, you need to think like they're thinking, not like you think. So, I think you can see that that's not always an easy decision to make, it's particularly difficult for an athlete, and I use this example in our courses as a matter of fact. We talk about Tiger Woods in the crisis. He went through back in 2009, where the brand and the person are the same thing. So, when you ask Tiger to do something for the benefit of his brand, he can't easily separate himself from that discussion because he and it are the same thing. So, you might want to have to said it product Tiger, this whole notion you use to protect your privacy was the wrong thing to protect because all it did was ignite the media's passion for finding out more about you. But his idea of protection was a personal one and he wants to protect his family himself. Wrong brand strategy, right personal strategy, he chose the personal thinking it would protect the brand, and it was the wrong decision, in my opinion. So, arbitrating those, Martha Stewart and a whole variety of others, becomes really, really difficult whenever the brand and the person of the same thing. So, when you think about crisis in sports and the fans hunger to capitalize on their knowledge base, their love of the sport, their eagerness to know more, and their disappointment in their team or their athlete, does the organization's marketing department become the middle man? Do they hire outside people? Do they have outside people standing by just in case a crisis happens? Well, how does that work? Well, in my experience, at least the professional sports organizations, generally don't have a contingency crisis consultant sitting around. I think entities as public, as most sports organizations, tend not to hire agencies. They may have a lawyer they go to a number of difficult situations arise, but I think they mostly take their own counsel in a crisis circumstance. Again, the hard thing for sports organizations to do is to walk a balance between having your fan critics deeply engaged, even if they are critical, but not lose their loyalty to your organization and making sure that you're behaving in a way that allows that sort of freedom, if you will, but also doesn't sort of push them away. I don't mean to keep using the NFL, but they're the sort of the sport de jure and they have sort of the ongoing daily crisis, if you will. They have an athlete that gets picked up for a DUI or they have to fire a coach, and those are all flashes that I referred to as momentary crisis. The one day wonder, so to speak. But then, there's the more abiding issue with the sport that has to be accounted for on some level as well. So, now a concussive injury for football, for example, is no longer just say put the athlete on the sideline for a few plays, it's now a cause celebre and it lasts for weeks until you go through a concussion protocol and so on and so forth, all of which highlights an enormous difficulty that the NFL is facing today with injuries. George Will wrote a column in 2012 about what's going on with football, for example, when he compared the size of the national championship Alabama football team from 1969 to the size of football teams in 2012. The average lineman in 1969 at Alabama's national championship team weighed 190 pounds or some such number. Today, the average in the NFL for a lineman is over 300 pounds, and they're faster, and they're built like bricks. So, the collisions that take place between these athletes are necessarily violent and dangerous. As time goes forward, the sport keeps trying to deal with the safety for athletes, and this is a league problem obviously which cascades down onto the teams, and they're doing everything they possibly can to preserve the sport knowing that there is a threat to personnel safety. But one has to wonder over decades how all that's going to weigh out, and the thing that mutes all of that concern is the gate. Football viewership is stable to up. Maybe not as many fans are going to the game, but fantasy football is growing by orders of magnitude. So, our interests in the sport is not in any way mitigated by some of the problems that the league has to deal with from the medical profession, from the union and so on and so forth. So, it's a difficult set of circumstances and it's some very unlike what you find in basketball, golf, hockey a little bit, you're going to begin seeing it I think, but it becomes a really long-term sort of festering crisis that day in and day out they have to deal with. Very interesting. I really appreciated, Hud, and you've given our viewers so much to think about. I can't say thank you enough for being here today. Thank you. Thank you, Kenny, very much. Thank you. Great being with you. Thanks. Thank you.