Bad things come in threes? Best Buy, Arkansas and Miami in crisis


A new Three Stooges movie comes out soon. But who needs Moe, Larry and Curly on the big screen when you’ve got the antics of Ozzie, Bobby and Brian in real life?

Ozzie Guillen, the Miami Marlins manager, apologized in the face of a five-game suspension after Time quoted him saying he loved Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. That’s a bit of a no-no in a city where one-third of the population is Cuban, most of whom descend from people who fought or fled Castro’s regime. http://bit.ly/HAfBjD

Bobby Petrino, head football coach at Arkansas, seemed to have it all going on. That’s until he got into an accident on his motorcycle, his female passenger [who is half his age and he hired for a sports foundation] was not his wife and the mother of their four kids, and he covered up and lied about it. http://bit.ly/HuYydc

Brian Dunn stepped down as Best Buy CEO, which most observers tied to the electronics chain’s weak performance of late. Now the board says there are personal conduct reasons. That can’t be good. And Dunn worked there for 28 years? http://bit.ly/HuYz0B

Instead of focusing on dumb, dumber and dumbest, let’s see how each remaining leadership group handled the crisis.

The Marlins knew what they were getting in Guillen, who in his earlier managing stint with the Chicago White Sox never met a notebook or tape recorder he didn’t want to spout something outrageous to.

Marlins executives just revamped the team for a new baseball-first ballpark and switched its name from Florida to Miami late last year. They surely thought Guillen would be the perfect Latino leader to complete their trifecta. They’ll likely survive this crisis after the suspension ends. It helped that Guillen was contrite and faced his critics in Little Havana. Maybe a B- effort.

Arkansas Athletic Director  Jeff Long seems to have handled its crisis best so far. No one’s overly surprised anymore when a college football or basketball coach turns out to be less than the lowest common denominator. Long investigated, determined the facts and swiftly fired Petrino for cause, saving the university millions in severance.

Long won’t triumph fully until he hires an equally successful new coach, but at least in a world where the NCAA’s hypocrisy about “student athletes” is battered almost daily, Long upheld his and his university’s integrity, and maybe its reputation in the Land of Clinton. Long earned a B+.

It’s anyone’s guess what Best Buy is doing. Apparently Dunn is due severance, and it’s probably going to be enormous despite poor sales. That’s one reason the board won’t release its terms yet, blunting needed transparency. [Be the first to deliver your own bad news.]

There is ample talk that Best Buy plans to move from big box to a more intimate Apple-like approach in its stores, emphasizing the shopper/client/BFF relationship. How this mess affects that change remains to play out. The jury’s still discussing, give the board a C-.

Almost every week there’s a fresh lineup of Stooges. Social media make us more aware; mistakes like these are nearly impossible to hide or cover up any more; and too many people don’t adhere to one of our key maxims: If you don’t want to see it in headlines tomorrow, don’t say it.

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About steveoncrisis

The content is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It comes from Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and as managing editor and editorial page editor at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs at Eric Mower and Associates, one of the nation's largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agency with six offices in the Northeast and Southeast.
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One Response to Bad things come in threes? Best Buy, Arkansas and Miami in crisis

  1. Pingback: Coaches Behaving Badly « M Schuett blah blah blah

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