Kobe Bryant Image Repair Paper

By: Chase Strickland

We discussed Kobe Bryant and his image repair strategies. Our paper is summarized below.

Abstract and Intro:

  • Superstar Kobe Bryant was one of the most popular, but polarizing, players in the NBA.
  • In April 2011, Bryant was called for a technical foul during a game.
  • The cameras caught Bryant shouting a gay slur at an NBA official.
  • Bryant was blasted by the media for the slur and fined by the NBA.
  • Bryant called into ESPN radio programs to repair his image and appealed the fine.

Literature Review:

  • We used the following studies: Adrian Peterson (Winters, 2015), Michael Phelps (Walsh & McAllister-Spooner, 2011), Terrell Owens (Brazeal, 2008), Lance Armstrong (Hambrick, Frederick, & Sanderson, 2015), Tonya Harding (Benoit & Hanczor, 1994), Lebron (James Brown, Dickhaus and Long 2012), and Tiger Woods (Meng & Pan, 2013).

Research Questions:

  1. . Did Bryant’s past reputation affect his image repair strategies?
  2. Were Bryant’s strategies more or less affective among the LGBT community?
  3. Did Bryant’s race impact the acceptance of his image repair?


  • We analyzed the Lakers’ and Bryant’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.
  • Listened to Bryant’s public discussion of the event.
  • Watched video the Lakers put out promoting gay rights.
  • Analyzed articles written by prominent sites like ESPN, Huffington Post, The New York Times, and Fox Sports.



The table above shows the image repair tactics used by Bryant.
  • Bryant and the Lakers were silent on social media, not responding to the incident.

Lakers FB feed 2

Photo from Lakers’ Facebook Feed.
  • Bryant did call in to ESPN radio and discussed the issue, using reducing the offensiveness of the event and mortification.

ESPN article

Photo from ESPN.com.
  • He used provocation, differentiation and defeasibility.
  • He also used mortification.
  • The results were mixed.

Kobe nonapology

  • A year later, he used corrective action on Twitter.

Kobe Tweet

  • He was praised for this in newspapers of report, such as the Atlantic.
  • When he retired last year, he was given royal treatment by many news sites, including ESPN.

Video from NBA’s Youtube
  • Members of the LGBT community or those with close friends in the community were less quick to accept his apology.


  • Many of the studies we looked at used similar tactics, such as reducing the offensiveness of the event and mortification.
  • Ultimately, mortification and corrective action are the most successful.
  • Past perception does not have much affect on the success of the image repair.
  • Do not contradict your mortification when you seek to reduce the offensiveness of the event.


  • The fact that the incident happened so many years ago makes it hard to find news from immediately after it happened.
  • We could only look at so many posts from after the incident.
  • Kobe Bryant did not use Twitter during the time.


  • Bryant used reducing the offensiveness of the event, mortification and corrective action.
  • While members of the LGBT community were slow to accept his apology, his long-term image stayed roughly the same.
  • He was regarded as an all-time great when he retired.
Photo from SB Nation

Initial Findings

By: Chase Strickland

In the case of Kobe Bryant, our initial findings showed an intense backlash to Kobe Bryant’s actions.

Surprisingly, Bryant and the Lakers did not address the issue through social media. While Twitter was not nearly as big of a platform, it is a shock that the Lakers did not comment on the incident.Lakers FB feed 2

Photo From Lakers’ Facebook Page

This tactic of silence probably did not help the fan reaction, as they wanted some kind of response. Ultimately, Kobe responded with a statement and on a radio show, but many of the LGBT community were not satisfied with his responses.

Kobe nonapology.PNG

Photo From Truthdig.com

Ultimately, the response by Bryant and the Lakers was extremely poor, but they did post this video.

Video From Laker’s YouTube

Image Repair

By: Chase Strickland

For my image repair article, written with Kat Largent, we are focusing on the image repair of now-retired basketball star Kobe Bryant. The image repair was necessary because Bryant used a gay slur directed at one of the NBA officials during a game, as seen below.

Video from Newbeat2012’s Youtube

He suffered severe media backlash and was fined by the NBA for his comments. Bryant ultimately apologized for his choice of words but did seek to appeal the fine.

While working on the beginning of this paper, it promises to be very interesting, as there are multiple unique elements to this case.

  1. Bryant was extremely polarizing.

While many people loved Kobe’s alpha-dog mentality, the many who did not hated him. They viewed him as selfish, arrogant, and a bad person. All of these mean his past reputation was not exactly stellar.

  1. Bryant used a gay slur.

Not only does the case involve Bryant’s past reputation, it also involves gender politics and the ever-growing debate about homosexuality. The choice of Bryant’s words makes it not only a case of mistreatment of an official, but a case of the treatment of homosexuality in general.

  1. The case involves racial politics.

Bryant, as an African-American male, could have been treated and received differently than if a Caucasian male had made a similar comment. The case will examine if he was given any differing treatment based on his race.

All of these elements allow us to examine this case from a unique perspective. How does it differ from other stars with mixed reputations? From others who used gay slurs? From other offensive comments from people of other races? Working further on this article should help us find out and be able to answer some of these questions. For now, it is too early to say.


Photo from SBnation.com

Campaign Evaluation

Part of a successful campaign is evaluation. A good team examines what they have done and if it is successful or not.

Video From Bill Hogg’s Youtube


Examining our campaign starts with looking at our goals and objectives. Earlier, we provided measurable goals to help us understand if our campaign was successful. For instance, our objective for Twitter was to increase followers by 10%. A reasonable amount of time after rolling out our campaign, say a few weeks to a month, we will look at the Twitter followers to see the increase. If the followers increased by 5% we were moderately successful, if close to 10 than successful, if not at all than we were unsuccessful.

Another aspect is looking at the business of the Fair Trade Market. Now that we have narrowed down our campaign to improving their sales during a down period, we can examine the sales of the store.


Picture From World Trade Market Twitter

The Fair Trade Market goes through an annual decrease in revenue during the month of March. It is a lull that happens every year before picking back up in the following month.

In order to combat this, we are rolling out a campaign titled #BringintheSpring. During each week of March we will discount different items, promoting them on social media and encouraging customers to come during the annual down period.

If the sales during the month of March still indicate a decrease from normal, than our strategy of promoting discounting items failed to bring more customers and revenue to the store. If the sales show that sales were up closer to normal revenue, than our strategy worked.

Mission Waco: Goals and Objectives

By: Chase Strickland

In order to help Mission Waco with a PR campaign, we worked with the organization to create a list of three goals. We then broke down those goals into a list of achievable objectives and tactics to establish those objectives.

Goal: Our first goal is to help Mission Waco increase their following and activity on social media. This will help them reach more people and have more resources to help the needy. This will be measured by the following objectives:

  • Increase Instagram followers by 10%.
  • Increase Twitter posts to weekly updates.
  • Share Instagram posts to Twitter and Facebook.

This shall be accomplished with the following tactics:

  • Follow more Instagram accounts.
  • Increase Twitter posts to twice a week.
  • Link Instagram posts to Twitter, Facebook and blog posts.
  • Continually accepting/interacting with those on Facebook.


Goal: We want to attract more web-traffic to raise awareness and gather resources. This will be accomplished with the following:


  • Update website with more content/ aesthetically appealing layouts.
  • Create a more appealing website/higher quality photos and graphics.
  • Push followers to website.


  • Add more pictures/videos.
  • More posts people can interact with.
  • Update the website on a weekly basis

The following is a great example of the kind of content we want to create:

Video from Unbound Youtube

Goal: Our third goal is to improve involvement with Baylor student organizations. We want more students involved with the organization, as they are a great resource. We will measure our success with the following objectives:

  • Increase student registration per month by 10%
  • Provide opportunities for student organizations

To accomplish this, we will use the following tactics:

  • Partner with Baylor to create initiative programs for students/organizations.
  • Get a representative to come inform students at organization’s meetings about what they can do to get involved.
  • Highlight student organizations that volunteer through social media accounts.

Once a year, Baylor students volunteer in the community through a program called Stepping Out. They help out in the community and accomplish many different tasks, showing there is vast potential in the student market.


Photo from Baylor.edu

These goals should help us raise the overall awareness of Mission Waco so that they can have more resources and make a greater impact in the community.

First Impressions

By: Chase Strickland

For class this semester, we are working in groups to create a public relations campaign for a non-profit company. This includes creating a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis for the company, then helping them improve their weaknesses, overcome threats and take advantages of opportunities. My group partnered with Mission Waco , a local non-profit that seeks to mobilize the middle class to eliminate social injustice, empowering the needy to get out of social cycles of poverty, homelessness, etc.church-under-bridge

Photo From Mission Waco Facebook

My first interactions with Mission Waco have been pleasant. They are extremely caring people who clearly have a passion for what they do. They are eager to see how we can help them and seemed receptive to our suggestions. They were also on the same page as us in regards to their strengths and weaknesses. They:

  • Recognized that their social media presence is not as good as it could be and were receptive to our early critiques.
  • Offered up threats and weaknesses of their own, pointing out that it can be difficult to fund raise with other charities also trying to raise money for similar causes from similar companies.
  • Noted the problem of weather, which can mess up planned outdoor events and create a rush of people needing shelter.

A large part of our PR campaign will focus on a new grocery store recently opened by Mission Waco. The store seeks to provide cheap food in walking distance of a low-income area that did not have any nearby stores.

Video by Grant Hudiburg

All in all, the people at Mission Waco seem eager and willing to work together to improve their performance and public relations. They seem like kind people who will listen to feedback and offer plenty of their own to help us help them.