A-Rod and Amar'e Pander to Fans
The New York Knicks have bought out and waived Amar'e Stoudemire, who was in the final year of a five-year deal that saw him making $23.4 million this season. Stoudemire will now sign with the Dallas Mavericks, where he might actually be able to compete for a championship. On his way out, he left a thank-you note to New York and his fans on his Instagram account in the form of a "poem":
Meanwhile, New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez has been on an apology tour as he prepares to return from his yearlong suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. The latest sign of the irreparable relationship between Rodriguez and the Yankees was the fight over a potential preseason news conference. The Yankees reportedly wanted him to hold one at Yankee Stadium before the start of spring training, but Rodriguez declined, instead opting to issue a handwritten note of apology to fans.
The one thing these two notes have in common is that they follow the "NYC Sports Public Relations" handbook to a T.
Stoudemire is following a repeated formula: When you leave, make sure to thank the Greatest Fans in the World and remind them how special their city is. And, of course, remind them that you'll always be one of them -- "Once a Knick, always a Knick" -- keeping open the door for future marketing opportunities. (You think anyone cares that Chauncey Billups only played a quarter season in New York? Steiner Sports sure doesn't.)
Rodriguez is also adhering to the well-established plan: Apologize profusely, elicit sympathy by acknowledging you'll probably never be forgiven, and don't give anyone an opportunity to ask follow-ups. A handwritten note also conveys a level of sincerity, at least to the particular demographic that might actually care about such an apology.
If anything, though, these two notes show us why the hullabaloo surrounding Marshawn Lynch and Kevin Durant's relationships to the media is so silly. These statements "from the heart," so often by way of Faceless Crisis Manager No. 1, don't really do much for public discourse. If these athletes were being honest, as they have every right to be, Stoudemire would post a photo of Scrooge McDuck swimming in $100 million in gold coins with the caption "See you in the playoffs (NOT)," while Rodriguez would just tweet Beyoncé's "Why Don't You Love Me" video.
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Kavitha A. Davidson at firstname.lastname@example.org