When we have written here about celebrity trials and tribulations, we have conceded that while everyone deserves their privacy, when you are in the public spotlight, there is really no longer any such thing as a true private life. Such a dynamic can present both a challenge and an opportunity for such celebrities. A recent experience I had underscores this.
Last week, I attended a concert where, it soon became apparent, a large contingent of Detroit Lions players were gathering in the suite next to ours. Understandably, everyone was buzzing and jockeying for position for a possible look, photo opportunity or chance to talk briefly to the pro athletes that we follow every week.
One longtime member of the offense who has publicly called out heckling fans in the past mostly kept his back to our group and was largely aloof. He did pose for one photo before putting his hand up when other cameras started clicking. Another newer member of the offensive corps, when approached and asked if he could answer a question, replied, “No,” and walked away.
What a stark contrast to defensive backs Louis Delmas and Alphonso Smith who were incredibly engaging, seeking out, in fact, a couple of the pre-teen members of our group who were obviously star struck. They took the time to chat with the young fans and posed for pictures. Smith, of course, was the player repeatedly burned on Thanksgiving Day against the Patriots. I have admired the way he has handled himself since that game; taking responsibility (calling his play ‘selfish’ in fact) and, when in public, taking the time for fans.
Everyone deserves their space and a night on the town without being bothered. Yet, why not, on an occasion such as this, take the time to shake a couple of hands and talk briefly with your core fans who are clearly excited to see you, support you every week and, in turn, pay your salary? Delmas and Smith get it. Do a little unscripted, non-photo-opp. PR and then enjoy the rest of your night. They understand their responsibilities – on and off the field – and that a few minutes of kindness can leave a lasting impression.