Dear International Tennis Federation,
Please stop crushing the reputation of professional tennis worldwide, with tennis fans and the general public perception.
On Tuesday, on the bottom news scroll on ESPN screens around the world, sports fans learned that the ITF banned two tennis umpires for corruption, and suspended four more who are under investigation.
The problem is, these aren’t “tour” umpires. They’re nobody Futures-level or ITF-circuit or Crap-stanistak Challenger umpires. And the ITF is blaring it out with press releases to the world, and casual sports fans, like they’ve caught a Grand Slam umpire with his thumb in the match-fixing pie.
If Major League Baseball had this problem with umpires at the Double-A level, you’d never hear about it, because:
A) No one gives a rat
B) These umpires are inconsequential
C) MLB actually has a PR staff not asleep at the wheel
D) You don’t tarnish the reputation of the entire sport by announcing some low-level corruption and letting it paint the entire sport
The ITF didn’t just bust an umpire that had just been in the chair at the Australian Open, but you wouldn’t know it by the news splash this week. By trumpeting this all over the news, now the casual sports fan thinks pro tennis has even more issues at the top level.
ITF, maybe bring in an outside PR firm. What you’re doing couldn’t be worse for the public perception of the sport.
So “Kirill Parfenov of Kazakhstan was banned for life in February 2015 for contacting another official in a bid to ‘manipulate the scoring of matches,’ the ITF said in a joint-statement with the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU).”
If this has to get out, make sure the media and fans realize these are low-level operatives.
Maybe you think this, in people’s minds, will make people believe the oxymoronic Tennis Integrity Unit is doing its job.
The only job that’s being done is bad, bad, bad PR for tennis.
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