Textbook: Brian Vickers passes the public relations test
If there was a textbook on how to handle a situation that impacts not only you personally but the people you work for, Brian Vickers would be the number one reference.
Two weeks ago and just days before the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover, Vickers and his team Red Bull Racing announced that he would be missing the race due to blood clots.
There was no word on just how long he would be gone or just how severe this health emergency really was. One thing that was clear was that Vickers and his team were out in front of this from the get go.
Sometimes when an athlete faces adversity whether it is for health reasons or not, they let the media dictate the flow of the news story.
Vickers, along with RBR team director Jay Frye and his doctors, were always a step ahead of the story. When the story broke it was a release from RBR. We live in age when the news breaks on social networking sites before traditional media is even aware.
For example, if you have a Twitter account you probably knew who won the fan vote before the fans that didn’t. Word was spread when Carl Edwards team radio discussed the logistics of moving pits. Media members and fans took to the social networking site with the news.
SPEED announced nearly an hour later when most everyone knew. That’s why what Vickers did last Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway is so impressive.
It’s not often a driver has the chance to get in front of a situation, and get their story out there before the media speculation and breaks it down.
Vickers on Friday announced that he would miss the rest of the NSCS season. In my opinion, Vickers did exactly what you need to do; get your story out there and answer every question asked.
He began the press conference by making it clear that any updates, any changes would come through him, Vickers stopped the rumor mill before it even began.
“Why I’m here today,’ I am here today to answer everything. I’m not going to hold anything back from you. I’m going to be completely honest with you. We’re not going to speculate, but we’re going to tell you exactly what’s going on. Obviously, there’s two different ways to handle these scenarios and situations. Sometimes you have specialists tell you to hide stuff – I disagree with that” Vickers said in the press conference.
His frankness and honesty set the tone for the entire press conference. He didn’t hold back nor did he hide behind the doctors. In fact, Vickers did much of the talking allowing the doctors to fill in when he couldn’t answer.
You could sense Vickers frustration not at the questions but at the situation. He talked about his plans while not in the race car but you always got the sense that Vickers wanted back in the car as soon as humanly possible.
Vickers has never been anything but frank and honest no matter what the story is, so what we saw on Friday should not be very shocking to those who follow Vickers closely.
It won’t be an easy six months ahead of him nor for his race team. Vickers was adamant and downright defiant that come February, “I do expect to be back in the car next season and to win the Daytona 500.”
After hearing that I was not surprised by his comment it was just Vickers being Vickers; frank, to the point and honest no matter what.