PGA Prez Gets the Boot After Immature Facebook Post

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    There’s no escaping this social media sand trap

    Professional Golf Association president Ted Bishop is the latest high-profile figure to lose their job as a result of a social media post. Bishop was angry with tour member Ian Poulter for his criticism of Ryder Cup captains Nick Faldo and Tom Watson, and let everyone know it on Facebook. The problems didn’t come because he voiced his opinion, but once he dropped the line below his troubles began:

    “Really? Sounds like a little school girl squealing during recess. C’MON MAN!”

    By Friday Bishop was on his way out thanks to a vote by the PGA board, and the organization headed straight into crisis management mode with a statement of its own:

    The PGA of America board of directors voted today to remove Ted Bishop, the 38th PGA president, from office for insensitive gender-based statements posted yesterday on social media. The board deemed the remarks to be inconsistent with the policies of the PGA.

    “The PGA of America understands the enormous responsibility it has to lead this great game and to enrich lives in our society through golf,” said PGA chief executive officer Pete Bevacqua. “We must demand of ourselves that we make golf both welcoming and inclusive to all who want to experience it, and everyone at the PGA of America must lead by example.”

    Under the bylaws of the PGA constitution, vice president Derek Sprague has been appointed the Association’s interim president until Nov. 22, when the election of new national officers takes place at the 98th PGA annual meeting. PGA Secretary Paul Levy will assume the dual responsibilities of Vice President and Secretary until the election.

    “The members and apprentices of the PGA of America must uphold the highest standards and values of the profession, as well as the manner in which we conduct ourselves at all times,” said Sprague, the PGA general manager and director of golf at Malone (New York) Golf Club. “We apologize to any individual or group that felt diminished, in any way, by this unacceptable incident.”

    A bit of a stodgy statement, but then again the PGA is a bit of a stodgy organization. Actions speak louder than words, and the PGA’s actions showed that immature, sexist statements coming from their top officers are simply unacceptable.

    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management

    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., an international crisis management consultancy, author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is Social Media Manager for the firm, and also editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]

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