Media not always athlete's enemy

|| February 10, 2018

A new winter sports season is approaching with rugby league trial matches beginning last weekend.

And that means we're about to see more footy players on our TV screens, on websites and in our social media feeds. It comes with being a professional athlete.

Most players aren't always going to like what's being said about them by journalists. Sometimes, they're right to complain.

In most cases, players who complain about journalists are tilting at windmills.

Former Aussie tennis great Pat Rafter summed it up well when he spoke to Sports Illustrated a few weeks ago:  

"You know, every now and then I stuff up like everyone does and I am in the spotlight a lot more than probably the general person," Rafter said.

"And I am not against that. I'd prefer if I didn't have it but if I didn't have it, I wouldn't also live the lifestyle I have. So you can't cut something off and abuse one side of it and say 'I want this' because it sort of goes hand-in-hand. The media have built up my profile and with that comes endorsements and sponsorships etcetera. So I have felt my relationship with the media has been really good and really positive. I'll be honest with them and they can be honest with me and it works well."

55 comms has been fortunate to work with several high-profile athletes who take the Rafter approach. Yes, most of them have been done over by a journalist in their careers.

But they have also benefited from the media publicity that has helped to make them household names. One of they keys to their success is this open mind - the road won't always be smooth but it's a journey that needs to be taken.