Amber Smith | Staff Writer
Experts came and shared valuable insight on the ins and outs of the sports industry with Hampton University students during a panel discussion in Scripps Howard Auditorium last week.
On November 8th, panelists Kelli Webb, publicist and founder of the KBD group, Aaron Rouse, former NFL safety, Carl Francis, NFLPA Director of Communications, and Tony Brothers, NBA referee all graced Scripps with an open forum.
Scripps professor, April Woodard and students from her JAC 320 class hosted the event and had the opportunity to ask panelists current event questions.
Panelists were each interviewed individually then as a panel.
Questions were raised as to how to react in a crisis, respond to social issues, and remain professional when dealing with celebrity clients.
Many of the experts also gave advice on how to prosper in the industry.
“In cases where clients do feel the need to speak up it is our job to help them harness the power of their platform and tweak their messaging so that it is presented in a way that it is intended to be,” said Webb.
Students were interested in how the panelists responded to the recent movement with athletes kneeling during the national anthem and the controversy surrounding the issue, while remaining professional.
“If I was still in the NFL I would’ve definitely taken a knee, regardless how you feel about Colin Kaepernick,” said former NFL safety Carl Francis.
“It is important for us to really come together as a Black community and show unity.”
Panelists also discussed a major aspect of the sports industry: the power of social media as a positive and negative tool.
Brothers provided a first-hand account of social media’s impact when talking about the death threats he received via social media after officiating a big game.
“After I called a play at a game I received a death threat from someone and the police had to stay with me for a couple hours after the game to be sure nothing was going to come about from that threat,” NBA referee, Tony Brothers said.
The sports industry may not always be all fun and games but many of the panelists insist that working hard and making the right contacts while using your resources is the ultimate key to succeed in this business.