When a reporter breaks a story, there is always a chance that there could be backlash. And in that same breath, there is always a chance that a reporter is completely on point with everything. That all depends on the trustworthiness of the source they use to get their information. But what if the backlash comes from someone indirectly involved with the organization the reporter is speaking on? ESPN reporter Dianna Russini experienced this recently when she reported on the Washington Redskins. She reported that there was some dissension about whether to move on from Robert Griffin III or not. The news she reported was not something many had doubted was going on, but a certain response she received on social media was both unexpected and uncalled for. Jessica McCloughan, the wife of Washington general manager Scot McCloughan, sent out a Tweet to Russini stating the following: “Please tell us how many BJ’s you had to give to get this story. And did they laugh at you before or after?” The Tweet was deleted, but not before social media got a hold of it. The Redskins organization tried to play it off like it came from a fake account but it was all confirmed when Mrs. McCloughlan issued an apology and confirmed that she was behind the Tweet. This adds to what has been an interesting few weeks for the organization.
Russini did not deserve this treatment at all. She seems to work hard and just tries to do the best job she can do like any other reporter. But to demean her by insinuating that she had to perform sexual favors to get the story was disrespectful and derogatory. Jessica McCloughan obviously is not a member of the organization per se. But in being the wife of the general manager, she has indirectly shone a bad light on the organization and her husband. For the organization, they now have to defend comments from someone that is not even employed by them. And for her husband, now he faces some scrutiny in this matter. Although he did not say the comments, they came from his household. It may seem like a stretch, but some may wonder if he even said some of these comments around his home and she was merely repeating them. Whatever the case may be, she has now placed him under scrutiny that he did not need, especially when he is trying to help repair the image of this team that has fallen apart. This will not cost him his job nor should it. But he has to get his wife to realize that her words have an effect on him and the organization despite him not saying them.
Along with embarrassing the organization, Mrs. McCloughan embarrassed herself. This was not exactly the greatest display of how to responsibly use social media. But she is not the only one that has done things like this. Many get on social media and act a fool and forget that there is some sort of responsibility that goes along with social media. And when some forget that essential bit of information, bad consequences usually occur. For example, a person could say something derogatory and mean on social media and think that no one in the world is watching. Well, to their surprise, that Tweet could make it back to their jobs, families and friends. And along with the embarrassment the Tweet could cause, it could also mean a loss of job and alienation of family members. McCloughlan was careless and irresponsible and it gave the organization her husband works for a black eye. This should be a lesson to all that social media can be a bad thing as much as it can be a good thing. It all depends on how responsible you are with it.
Going forward, Jessica McCloughan will have this hanging over her head. And she helped orchestrate an embarrassing chapter in the Redskins most recent history. The lesson learned here is the responsibility of social media. Mrs. McCloughan definitely missed the boat on this one. She can have her opinions but she may also want to keep them off social media. Not just for her sake, but for the sake of her husband, who is trying to do his job. Distraction is something he could probably do without. And she may want to actually get her facts straight before slinging insults at someone because she does not like what it said. As your profile grows, so does your social responsibility.