President Trump has decided to not host the Golden State Warriors at the White House for the traditional light banter — “Hey Zaza, I bet you shop at Whole Foods” — and photo op. Naturally, the President shared his decision on Twitter, calling out Stephen Curry for his lack of enthusiasm.
Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team.Stephen Curry is hesitating,therefore invitation is withdrawn!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
The comment from Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr nicely captures the moment.
- “He (Trump) was going to break up with us before we could break up with him.”
There was talk that the Warriors might actually accept an invitation to the White House if only to use the visit as a pulpit to speak out.
Yet, such an opportunity still exists. In the spirit of serving the public good, I’ve outlined a straw man communications plan.
First things first, let’s look at how the schedule shakes out. The Warriors play the Knicks in New York on Feb. 26 before heading to D.C. to take on the Wizards on Feb. 28. Perfect. After traveling across the country to play in New York, I’m guessing that Coach Kerr will give the boys the day off on Feb. 27. That’s our window of opportunity.
OK, with the mechanics out of the way, we need to nail down the theme of our communications. Take your pick between immigration, healthcare, race, religion, sexism, taxes, name-calling, and the list goes on. If I can make a suggestion, tackle the theme of equality for all and uniting America, which encapsulates many of these issues (plus allows you to pull from the Declaration of Independence).
We want to build momentum leading into Feb. 27. I don’t think it will take much. I suggest buying a billboard near The Washington Post for the month of February. Perhaps we design the billboard with a hashtag swimming in white space.
No need to include attribution on the billboard. Someone will figure it out; thus triggering social media to work its magic.
I’m also thinking that each Warriors player should write a first-person narrative on the topic of equality for all. It can be 200 words or 1,000-plus words. What’s important is that it comes from the heart and reflects each player’s view. I don’t want the players’ agent or marketing team ghostwriting these pieces. We’re happy to provide our editorial services pro bono to polish the narratives. We publish these POVs on The Players’ Tribune on Feb. 27 at 8 a.m. East Coast Time.
Ideally, we finalize these narratives by the end of the year. This allows time to hire an illustrator to create artwork for each story so the collective content can be packaged as a book. More on distribution of the book in a minute.
In addition, we pull a fresh quote from each player’s narrative and package it for Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Again, these social media assets are locked and loaded, ready to push out on each player’s personal social media platforms on Feb. 27 at 8 a.m. with hyperlinks to their narratives.
This should ratchet up the buzz a decibel (or two) on the big day.
Which brings us to Feb. 27.
I see two different approaches to leveraging this window. We could pair up the Warriors, creating six teams. Each two-person team then participates in one press interview with the goal of selecting six media targets that in aggregate should drive the story across America and even across the world. All interviews take place in the morning, so if players want to participate in the optional shoot around that same afternoon, no problem.
Another thought is to hold a press conference, but not the typical sports press conference.
Instead, I envision conducting the event at the National Press Club which is going to deliver a different vibe than a venue with Dunkin’ Donuts lingering in the background.
I suppose we could execute both tracks with five teams conducting press interviews and one team holding court — my one pun quota per post — at the National Press Club. But I also think a press conference gains more power if all players are present, even if only a few players speak at the podium. How we handle Feb. 27 warrants discussion from the players.
Back to the book. We work out an arrangement with independent bookstores in D.C. to distribute these for free on Feb. 27, and if we hold the event at the National Press Club, that becomes another point of distribution.
That covers it. Again, this is a straw man, so please consider it a starting point.
Given the popularity of the Warriors, I recognize that Raymond Ridder who heads communications for the team has his hands full. I would be happy to donate my time to the cause, whether it’s serving as the point person or in a supporting capacity.
What counts is the discourse.
Returning to Coach Kerr, his words as shared with Sports Illustrated deserve magnification:
- “Remember, the president works for us, not vice versa. We elected him. He doesn’t just work for his constituents and his base. He works for every citizen. Once you take that office, you have to do what’s best for the entire country. Sure, you’re going to have policies that align with your party, but that’s not the point. Respectfully, Mr. Trump, the point is this: You’re the president. You represent all of us. Don’t divide us. Bring us together.”