MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- I don’t know how many times we’ve said it, but let’s try again: the only thing worse than bad publicity is trying to cover up bad publicity. No, wait, there is something worse: being found out trying to cover up good publicity.
On Thursday, during the Dallas-Miami football game, Cowboy cheerleader Melissa Kellerman was bowled over by Dallas tight end Jason Witten as he ran out of bounds. Witten immediately did the right thing, and helped Kellerman back to her feet. A noble gesture. Kellerman appeared to laugh off the incident, which was, of course, caught on film, and is now all over the Internet.
Kellerman later opened her Twitter account and sent two innocuous, somewhat humorous, self-deprecating comments to her followers…all 300 or so. But rather than laugh about the incident, the Cowboy front office responded by telling her to close her Twitter account. Now the comments, and the Dallas response, have a world-wide audience, and the folks in the front office are looking like a bunch of heavy-handed, corporate bullies.
OK, maybe part of Kellerman’s contract is that she not comment about the team, the games or the organization. But these sort of restrictions are designed to keep employees from criticizing the organizations or posting embarrassing comments.
But Kellerman’s comments weren’t anything like criticism, and were far from being embarrassing. Indeed, they tend to show the team in a favorable light, and everyone could have been a winner here.
In fact, I can think of several ways to “spin” this into an even better story: Make Kellerman an honorary defensive lineman for her “awesome” stop on Witten. Have Witten carry her purse around for “almost injuring” the cheerleader.
This incident had great potential, with winners all around. Now, there is a loser: the Dallas Cowboy organization.
I’m Larry Burriss.