The Jim Tressel Saga's PR Lesson

For many sports fans in this part of the country, it was hard to focus, as Don notes below, on the true meaning of Memorial Day. That’s because, as family and friends gathered in person and online, the subject of Ohio State Head Football Coach Jim Tressel’s resignation dominated discussion.

Here’s the PR lesson of the Tressel saga and it’s one we have heard too many times before. People intoxicated by power forget that we live in the most forgiving society imaginable. They really can do something wrong, apologize, reassure and the public can move on. But so often, public figures just won’t own up to their bad behavior.

Tressel, like so many others, motivated by greed or fear, lied and covered up, rather than facing the facts and the truth. That, of course, was his undoing.

While our society can forgive (and so often forget), we are simply not tolerant of lies and cover-ups. In the court of public opinion, those are capital crimes. So the old Watergate-era saying “The cover-up is worse than the crime” once again rings true.