The NFL has enlisted Joe Lockhart as the leagues’ executive vice president of communications. Since January 2016, Lockhart has covered topics from the health and safety of players, to controversial cases of players’ personal lives. His style has been described here as an in-your-face approach and “offensive”. The previous press secretary under Bill Clinton transparently communicates with highly influential NFL reporters in regularly scheduled conference calls. This unique and open approach allows for Lockhart to answer questions, address issues, and effectively communicate the organizations message. It’s interesting to note that before Lockhart’s arrival, the NFL took a more defensive stance when dealing with dilemmas in the media.
With the days of dodging important issues behind them, the NFL can now strong-arm subjects that affect the organization as a whole.
I received a bachelor of science in communication from North Carolina State University, with a concentration in Public Relations. Having spent countless credit hours putting out fires during crisis communication modules and selecting from pools of some of the most heinous clients to create expert communication plans for- PR has been a true art form for me! The NFL did themselves a real service by hiring Joe Lockhart. He has a proven track record of success in some of the worst industry climates, and always seems to come out on top. I have always admired an offensive, fearless and confident approach to PR.
This approach is best represented in the political landscape. Politicians are well known for creating some of the best content to offensively deal with some of the issues that arise during and after their run for office. Some of Lockhart’s tactics include sharing timely information to relevant sources like the top NFL reporters in the game. He also relies on a more consistent approach to his work ethic. Silently waiting for reporters to release stories can no longer be the model in a climate that is overflowing with social issue and opinions. Online platforms have become much more powerful with the emergence of social media, and Joe Lockhart is cornering the market.
The author of this article, Daniel Kaplan, is sharing not only the NFL’s brilliant addition to the team, but also sharing the importance of good PR!