Bruce Irvin Hires New PR Person One Day Too Late


This is the 40-Something Files! 

A weekly take on the state of Seattle Sports through the lens of a guy whose four decades of fandom has earned too many scars, and seen too few celebrations.

April Fools!!! Gotcha!!!

Perhaps a better apology would have been: “For the sake of giving people a good April Fools Day zing, I completely overlooked the sensitive nature of the basis for my joke. Drunk driving is no joke, and I should have known better. Please accept my apology.”

OK, I admit, the headline – Bruce Irvin Hires New PR Person One Day Too Late – is one horrible April Fools’ Day joke. For one thing, by the time you read this, it’s probably not even April 1st anymore, and also, it’s not very funny.

However, at least it’s not as unfunny as Bruce Irvin’s own ill-fated attempt at a humorous April Fools’ Day ruse.

Of course, Irvin’s joke played itself out in Twitter Stadium, where many a public figure has been carried off the field on a stretcher. My joke is playing itself out here.  I’ll let you assess the difference on your own.

Before I go any further, here are the actual April Fools’ tweets put out by the Seattle Seahawks’ 2012 1st round draft pick, which you may or may not have already seen:

Now that we’re all on the same page, here are my thoughts…

As unfunny and as lacking in creativity as I find these tweets to be, I can’t say that my discomfort with the words rose to the level of outrage that pelted Irvin’s twitter feed as a result. It was, after all, an attempt at an April Fools’ Day joke, the likes of which are typically “anything goes.” There’s a line you shouldn’t cross on April Fools’ Day, for sure, but it is a gray one.

More from Emerald City Swagger

Some may say that on this day, the more harsh the misdirection, the better. While drinking and driving is not really something to make a joke about, if there ever was a day to make that kind of joke, and survive it, April first is the day it could have been done.

Unfortunately, feeling the heat of this misstep by way of Twitter backlash, Bruce Irvin took a questionable approach to digging himself out of the hole he had unintentionally dug.

This apology lacked more sincerity than the original tweets lacked sensitivity.

I mean, an apology requires one ingredient and one ingredient only, or else it just doesn’t qualify – and that ingredient is… SINCERITY!

Otherwise, as in this case, it’s just throwing gasoline on a fire.

So here I am, facing the cognitive dissonance that fans too often must face in this day and age. We are wired to root for these guys off the field, because they provide us so much joy with their actions on the field. But questionable tweets (while not even close to as devastating as many other kinds of acts can be) can still cause that wire to “short.”

Unfortunately, today’s endless social media avenues into the hearts and minds of everyone around us, also make us face the fact that we may not always enjoy the personality behind the performers we admire. When it’s someone as important to our team as a freakish athlete like Bruce Irvin who reveals himself in that way, it can become hard to ignore the lingering distaste, while at the same time rooting for the man to deliver a huge third-down sack.

In other words, it can lessen our overall enjoyment as fans.

For example, as a UW Alum and hardcore Huskies Football fan, I had this exact feeling rooting for the Dawgs last season with Cyler Miles at the helm. His involvement in an attack on, of all possible victims, a Seahawks fan celebrating a SUPERBOWL VICTORY, delivered a harsh blow to my fandom for my Alma Mater. News of his “personal reasons” for leaving the team (at least for now), actually lifted the cloud hanging over my ability to cheer for the team’s success.

To be clear, Bruce’s tweets, and subsequent questionable apologies, don’t approach the kind of act, to me, that merits an apples-to-apples comparison to how I was affected by the situation with Miles and my support for the Dawgs.

More from Seattle Seahawks

I will still cheer for Seahawks without reservation. I will still hope that Bruce Irvin crushes QB’s each and every Sunday. But because if this April Fools’ incident, it may not be as easy to overlook questionable penalties, or post-game “blame games” as it once was.

Stars like Bruce Irvin, in this day and age, are under an intense microscope as part of the privilege to hold the famous place in society that they do. When they choose to play in Twitter Stadium, in addition to their real-world endeavors, they are just sharpening that microscope’s focus on what exists at their core.

And it takes more than cut abs to be impressive at the core.

With this in mind, here’s what I would have advised Mr. Irvin to do, in the wake of his April Fools’ Day joke gone off the rails:

First, Tweet this, “April Fools! I’m really not that insensitive!!! Gotcha!”

Then a little later: “Just kidding of course, I felt I needed to lighten the mood. I really am sorry for my original April Fools Day tweet.”

Then, a few minutes later put this out there in as many tweets as it takes: “For the sake of giving people a good April Fools Day zing, I completely overlooked the sensitive nature of the basis for my joke. Drunk driving is no joke, and I should have known better. Please accept my apology.”

No qualifications of who gets to receive the apology. No defensive response to perceived overreactions. Just an acknowledgement of the mistake, and an understanding of why it was a mistake.

It would have allowed fans more reason to forgive, and more hope that no matter their outrage at the premise of the joke, at least they could still, with clear conscience, root for the man.

While it’s a little too late for me to help no. 51 out from the April first hole that he dug for himself, I do want to put it out there that my PR services are available to the general public.

If anyone out there could use a little spin control, I’m happy to help get you out of whatever hot water you may find yourself in… any time… NO CHARGE!


Unlike for this writing gig, I would actually need to get paid a few bucks for the PR stuff.

Next: Seahawks Awarded Four Compensatory Picks For 2015 Draft