Disingenuous Actions May Sour Your Good Reputation

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Stars are looked upon in a better light by the general public if they appear as genuine people. After all, many magazines have been sold with covers touting, “Stars: They’re Just Like Us!” People want to see that even among glitz and glamor, celebrities are just as real as the rest of us. Embracing genuineness is a great way to get the general public on your side and develop a good reputation, but the opposite is also true: disingenuous actions can have a negative impact on your reputation and goodwill.

David Ortiz was Embraced for His Genuine Emotion, Even Though it Included an F-Bomb

Later this month will mark the one year remembrance of the tragic and senseless bombings at the Boston Marathon, in which three lost their lives and over 250 were injured. The marathon has always been one of the most special days of the year in Boston, something the city has always been proud of. It was just five days later that the Boston Red Sox played their first home game at historic Fenway Park after the bombings. The RedSox put together a special ceremony to honor both the victims as well as the first responders to the crime. They wore special jerseys that replaced the normal “Red Sox” with “Boston” to show that the team was one with the city.

As a spokesperson for the club, the Red Sox brought out David Ortiz, who is affectionately known as ‘Big Papi.’ Ortiz was born in the Dominican Republic and has been with the Red Sox since 2003, and has now been part of three World Series winning teams. Ortiz is a big man with an even bigger personality, and a true fan favorite who is never afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve and speak his mind. Ortiz came out to address to the crowd, thanked the Mayor, the Governor, and the Police and Fire Department. It was then live on national television that he said the following:

This is our f*cking city, and nobody is going to dictate our freedom. Stay Strong!

The speech can be seen below, of course with foul language.

In the aftermath of the speech, Boston couldn’t have loved Big Papi any more. This vulgar phrase became a rallying cry for the city. It was hard to find anyone who had a problem with the language because it was felt that it showed Ortiz’ true passion for the city of Boston. Even the FCC didn’t take issue with his statement. It was a real and genuine moment with zero commercial interference, which has been replayed time and time again. It was as if Ortiz was Boston, and the Red Sox know this all to well, as they rewarded Big Papi with a $16M contract for the 2015 season. Upon the announcement of the contract extension, owner John Henry had this to say:

With this agreement, we have near certainty that David Ortiz will finish his career in a Red Sox uniform, which is something we have all wanted and that we are all proud of. It is difficult to describe David’s contributions to our city both on the field and off the field, and we are so proud to have this ambassador of our game with us as he continues on this road to Cooperstown.

Ortiz will be turning 40 during the 2015 season, and it is well known that not many baseball players are effective at that age. The consensus from the experts is that Ortiz is getting paid that large sum of money both because of past performance and what he means to both the city and the team.

Ortiz and the Paid Presidential Selfie?

The story begins to turn a bit this week, when the 2013 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox visited the White House to meet President Obama, a tradition for teams since the 1800s. Big Papi was front and center with the POTUS during the ceremony. The team presented Obama with a customized Red Sox jersey and shook plenty of hands. Toward the end of the ceremony, the team posed for a photo with Obama, and just before the photo was taken, Ortiz yelled out, “Actually, would you mind if I take my own?” Ortiz then pulled out his phone and managed to get a selfie with himself and the President.

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It was a feel good moment. Ortiz is looked upon as a big goof ball, and this act of spontaneity seemed to get laughs from everyone on hand. It would have been great to leave it at that, but only a few hours later, it came out that Ortiz signed an endorsement deal with Samsung only 24 hours before heading to the White House. Even that wasn’t a huge deal until retweets started to come out from Samsung.

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The authentic moment started to quickly swerve to looking to be completely disingenuous. It turns out Samsung paid to be behind the famous selfie that Ellen DeGeneres initiated at this year’s Academy Awards, so it only makes sense that they would try to achieve that same buzz once again As word trickled out, Ortiz was questioned on the subject and steadfastly denied being coerced into setting up the photo, or being paid for getting the photo.

It wasn’€™t promotional or anything like that. Who knows you’€™re going to be able to take a picture with the President, a selfie? How many people can guarantee that? It’€™s something you don’€™t even have to talk about.

It sounds like a rather weak denial. Samsung hasn’t denied anything, but has done everything they can to keep the momentum going with this statement:

When we heard about the visit to the White House, we worked with David and the team on how to share images with fans. We didn’t know if or what he would be able to capture using his Note 3 device.

There is no question that we live in a capitalistic society, and everyone is out to try to make money, but shouldn’t some things be seen as sacred? Meeting the leader of the free world should be one of them. The White House has has said that the President had no idea of Ortiz’s deal with Samsung, or that he would be asking to take his own photo. Regardless of your politics, there is no question that Barack Obama has worked diligently to relate to the general public, whether young, old, famous or not. To then abuse that graciousness and use the President as a pawn in a marketing scheme seems truly distasteful and shallow.

Ortiz has built up a ton of good will not only in the city of Boston but around the country with the leadership he took after the Boston Marathon bombings, so let’s cling to the small chance that the impromptu photograph was just that, and not just a cash grab. Anything less would be disappointing and damaging to Big Papi’s reputation.