49ers scandal points to expanding professional crisis — in management as well as marketing

Is anyone really shocked that a PR manager got the brilliant idea to communicate with his internal audience along the lowest common denominator?

The denominator itself is disgusting.  Don’t even need to dignify the interests of the PR guy’s audience or his apologists with any discussion.  The critical issues — and of great significance to any business — are to be found in the back story.

If it’s true that the team’s owners and managers only took action when threatened with public exposure, to the media and the league, after knowing of the tape’s existence for months, more than the PR manager’s judgment is in question.

If the PR manager’s counsel on the question of the coach’s effectiveness outweighed that of professionals with some expertise in leading teams on the field, playbooks and talent, more than the PR manager’s power is in question.

If with all the PR expertise out there this is all the 49ers could find to advise them on visibility — and teach the players something about what constitutes a positive image — more than the PR manager’s credentials is in question.

Businesses and their leaders must realize that in claiming the bully pulpit they have a responsibility to elevate discussion and push standards of behavior ever higher, not lower.  They must retain professionals who aid them in accomplishing this objective, not convince them that the content of a video like this is effective, much less funny.  And they need people who focus the outbound messages and inbound training for the organization on the business at hand, not themselves and their apparent desire for stardom or coziness with the other employees.

Of course, maybe this is just about the pugilists taking their Neanderthal-ic field rules and trying to get the rest of us to play by them.  I hope the new PR manager can figure out a better way to make that happen, if that is indeed the strategy.  We’ll take that on as well.

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