Thursday, September 28, 2006

25 million reasons PR has a bad name

Yesterday my husband told me the funny story about how Terrell Owens, the Dallas Cowboys football player who may or may not have tried to commit suicide the other day, has a publicist who thinks her client lives only for money.

Kim Etheredge called 911 for help and apparently told police that Owens has been depressed and that she believed he was trying to harm himself. But afterwards, she retracted both of these statements, concluding her remarks with this:

''Terrell has 25 million reasons why he should be alive.''

She was referring, of course, to his $25 million contract with the Cowboys. My husband, of course, didn't really think this was funny--he just knew my reaction was going to be fun to watch, something along the lines of wailing and the gnashing of teeth.

Now, I will grant you that Etheredge is always called a "publicist," at least in all the press coverage that I've seen. But I will also say that the general public doesn't distinguish between publicists and PR practitioners.

So what does the average person take away from all this? Well, it isn't pretty.

Here's what Dallas sports columnist Tim Cowlishaw had to say about it:
Oh, right, Kim. People with money never have mental health issues. Thanks for reminding us.

Even worse, forget Etheredge when she blamed it all on the police. Even if their initial report of a suicide attempt was inaccurate (I'm not saying it was), Wednesday's edition of the T.O. Circus was not a police invention.

"I feel they take advantage of him," Etheredge said. "Had this been someone else, this may not have happened."

Not sure who's taking advantage of Owens here. Don't think it's the police. Could it be the publicist who can't get Owens' $25 million contract out of her head.

Well, if she did save the guy's life, that is admirable. I'd rather be saved by a loud-mouth who doesn't think, than killed by someone who didn't move fast enough because they were thinking about the perfect words to say at a press conference.
I think Etheredge didn't get fired. I think she quit to go work for her hair company. She owns Mixed Chicks.
She must be crazy. Who else would work for a lunatic like T.O.? You attract what you are.
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