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Michael Sam’s Publicist Shares Lessons Learned from His Coming Out Story

NCAA Football: Missouri at Indiana

We think you’ll agree that Fifteen Minutes PR chief and Reputation.com vice chairman Howard Bragman scored one of 2014′s biggest PR wins to date by breaking and managing the Michael Sam story.

He also happens to be a LinkedIn “influencer” who shared his lessons learned in a post earlier today. His key point: coming out is less about making news than “owning your truth”—which sounds like a great message management tagline.

So what are his universal PR lessons?

  • Jump out in front of a pending story to make sure no one else can intercept and run with it
  • Tell the tale once and let the rest of the media worry about turning it viral
  • Prepare for a worst possible scenario response: be ready to defend your offensive strategy
  • Stick to trusted channels and friends so no third party can spin your story
  • Emphasize the fact that there’s a well-rounded person behind the announcement
  • Release your statement, make your peace and get on with living your life

To further support his message management thesis, Bragman tweeted a TIME piece suggesting that the “media circus” over Sam’s announcement has pretty much already died down; as ESPN puts is, this was always a story about football above all other things.

Also: in keeping to his word, Bragman has denied all requests for further interviews with Sam—and he’s done so with his own little version of “Green Eggs and Ham”:

I am the rep for Michael Sam
I am

He would not like to chat with the press
In a suit or in a dress

He would not like them
Here or there
He would not like them
anywhere.

You may find that stunt a little too cute depending on your sensibilities, but we get it.

Oh, and if you do click on Bragman’s post, we have an even more important lesson to share: don’t read the comments.

[Pic via Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports]

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