Should Brady’s PR team apologize or counter-punch?

Should Brady’s PR team apologize or counter-punch?

The NFL just announced the suspension  — without pay — of Tom Brady for the first four games of the 2015 regular season. The reason? “Deflategate.” To make a long story short: Brady is in trouble — along with his team, the Patriots — for playing with deflated footballs that supposedly give the team a competitive advantage.

Did Brady know that he was playing with an under-inflated ball? Did he not know? Was he behind the whole thing? Well, an official investigation found that Brady was “at least generally aware.”

So here’s where things get really interesting from a PR perspective. Brady’s agent Don Yee just released a statement, in which he responds, “The discipline is ridiculous and has no legitimate basis. In my opinion, this outcome was pre-determined; there was no fairness in the Wells investigation whatsoever.”

Instead of taking an apologetic stance, Yee essentially accuses the NFL of scapegoating his client. He could have politely said that Brady is innocent and he’s disappointed with the report’s conclusion. But instead, he goes on the attack.

Is this “counter-punch” a wise PR strategy? If you were running Brady’s PR campaign, would you take a more aggressive or apologetic stance? What’s the best way to uphold Brady’s reputation? Is it ever effective to “attack the messenger”? Or is it always better to stay cool and professional. In Tom Brady’s case, we’ll find out soon enough.

Kristen Thomaselli