Network Associate Paul Hemsley thinks that the NZRU is a victim of wanting to be the good news fairy, and its own soft PR environment.
The evidence is becoming clearer by the week, the NZ Rugby Union can’t manage difficult situations. We saw it with the Chiefs’ episode, now we see it with the Losi Filipo case.
The Union’s response is a symptom of the soft public relations environment they have created for themselves. They are the good news fairies. This is the result of how tightly they manage their communications and the media. But when it comes to the tough issues, it appears they are crap.
With the Chiefs no sooner had they congratulated themselves on how well they had managed the situation than they were admitting they got it wrong.
Is no one at NZ rugby HQ considering the hard scenarios? With the latest case of assault, they had a year to get their act together and consider how it might play out. Did no one consider that the complainants might front foot the incident following the court case, regardless the outcome? Apparently not.
No number of ‘good news’ school or hospital visits will dissolve the stain left by these incidents.
The NZRU has to move beyond manipulating the media to maximise positive stories, and spend some time addressing how it is going to respond to the next real hard news incident, however far away this is.
The best companies I have worked with always mobilize on the small issues to ensure they are match fit for the potentially punishing ones.
As far as the assault and subsequent court case go, there are no winners, and rugby is definitely the loser.
What do you think?