|Wish Kevin Petersen had just said sorry - quickly- Jamie Salmon|
Alas, for English cricket, the Kevin Petersen story will run for some weeks yet as the issues go well below the lines of acceptability of a player and team relationship, as well as that of a player relationship with a team captain.
The ECB have played their hand with firmness and authority as a governing body should and gave Petersen every chance to apologise prior to his sacking from the test team to face South Africa in the last test of the series. As we all know, he declined and was dumped from the team.
Since the story broke there has been even more fuel added to an ever spreading fire. Petersen is now alleged to have criticised recent debutant James Taylor on his ability and worthiness to play test match cricket. ESPN, host broadcasters for the forthcoming 20/20 World Cup, announced Petersen as one of their commentators for the event (which was a surprise as one of Petersen’s regular winges is how much time he has to spend away from home).
The fact that Petersen sent texts to opposition players is not being questioned, although the exact content is still uncertain and although it appears Andrew Strauss certainly got a mention. However, when given the chance to apologise, he refused and thereby caused a media frenzy that still rages on websites, in press boxes and certainly in pubs across the land.
The cricket media have been full of comment. Vic Marks blog on the Guardian website is an excellent piece and calls for more pragmatism and less principle to facilitate the return of Petersen to the crease for England. His colleague Mike Selvey suggests the solution is the use of a third party, an independent arbitrator, someone used to conflict resolution who can look at all the issues dispassionately. The very good Steve James in the Telegraph says it was absolutely right to drop Petersen and insists that he must apologise to Andy Flower as well as Andrew Strauss.
By not saying sorry immediately, Petersen ‘lost’ the public- not all of them, but certainly the vast majority. Whether he was badly advised or just chose to ignore it is another interesting debate. The public do not mind a top sportsman showing contrition as they just want some honesty, transparency and most importantly, just want the player back doing what he does best on a sports field. He could have easily added that there were other issues to resolve, but the act of texting opposition players about your own team mates was just so wrong that you hold your hand up high and admit it straight away.
Days later Petersen admitted he had sent texts and sort of apologised in a statement. Then, also somewhat bizarrely, appeared on a YouTube piece saying he was available for all forms of cricket for England. Although, he sadly could not extend the footage so people could actually hear him say the word sorry.
I do wonder what his sponsors think of his actions and we will all be worse off if he does not bat for England again. However, the big sadness now is that any apology will be far too late for Petersen to be welcomed back with open arms, not just by team mates, but by the public. If only he had just said sorry when given the chance.
About Jamie Salmon
Jamie Salmon is a Director of Juniper Sport, a PR & Event Management agency who represents such clients as Mercedes-Benz, Polo Ralph Lauren and Rolex on a global basis. They are also responsible for the exclusive PR of Olympic medal swimmers Rebecca Adlington and Kerri-Anne Payne and for Zara Phillips.
Mercedes-Benz retains Juniper Sport as its international PR agency specialising in golf. Also, for the past five years, Juniper Sport has worked with Ralph Lauren to maximise its sponsorship of The Wimbledon Championships through a global public relations campaign and a polished, on-brand corporate hospitality experience. In addition, Juniper Sport’s working relationship with Rolex has been extensive within its sports sponsorship programme covering Golf, Tennis, Motor Sport and Equestrian. Juniper Sport’s current role is the co-ordination of its international golf programme.
Jamie Salmon is a former rugby international for both England and New Zealand and has worked extensively in the press and broadcast media as a columnist and commentator for rugby union.