Home Career Advice Work Relationships Bobby Valentine’s Big Career Mistake: 9/11 Blame Game
Bobby Valentine’s Big Career Mistake: 9/11 Blame Game

Bobby Valentine’s Big Career Mistake: 9/11 Blame Game

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Former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine made headlines again, and for all of the wrong reasons. On the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attack on New York’s World Trade Center, Valentine recalled his experience making public appearances in the city and dragged someone else through the coals in the process.

Bobby’s Latest Move

In his interview on WFAN on Wednesday, Valentine said the New York Yankees were “AWOL”  in the days after September 11. According to his own account, the Mets players visited firehouses and attended funerals of some of the fallen first-responders, and the Yanks were supposedly nowhere to be found.

On such a sensitive day in America’s history, Valentine was trying to win people over for his own benefit. “This isn’t about credit, guys. This is about doing the right thing,” he said when he recalled his comments to his players in 2001. If he truly believed that statement when he said it, why would he go against everything it stood for by sharing it with the public a dozen years later?

Valentine’s Laundry List Of Recent Missteps

Bobby got a real bang for his buck by embarrassing himself in many different ways all in one segment on the radio. He didn’t get his facts right, he tried to turn a complaint by his players into a pat on the back for himself, and he trash-talked an organization that had nothing to do with his involvement in the situation.

Any of those moves would be a big enough mistake on its own, let alone that they all happened together AND it came while he spread a message of hate and supremacy on one of the most unifying days of our nation’s history.

Mr. Valentine tried to cover it up by later saying that Yankees players didn’t live in that area, so it wasn’t their fault for not helping, but it was too late at that point. (New York Yankees players visited the Armory, St. Vincent’s Hospital and the Javits Center before sports games resumed ten days later, according to Yanks president Randy Levine and MLB.com. They also spent time at Ground Zero, which Valentine specifically refuted.)

What’s Next?

Thanks to the way he handled the Boston Red Sox in 2012, Bobby V won’t be getting a managerial or coaching job anytime soon, but he may have officially destroyed his career with comments like those. Anyone that considers hiring him for a public-facing role will have to think about the PR nightmares he’s caused over the years.

The supposed inventor of the wrap sandwich didn’t do himself any favors this week, even though that was most likely his intention. Why else would he badmouth another organization and try to downplay the effort he gave 12 years ago, while still bringing it up in the first place? There was nothing for the public to gain from Bobby’s story. The only possible positive was for him, and only if journalists didn’t fact-check.

The Most Important Lesson

No matter how tempting the opportunity may be, don’t use a bad situation as a platform to give yourself credit or speak ill of other companies, especially if there’s a chance your comments may become public. (Remember that these days, you’re just a tweet away from a bad reputation.) No matter how carefully Bobby V may think he worded his response, his true motives showed. His look-at-me attitude has gotten him into trouble before, and this may be the worst of it. An apology may attempt to take those words back, but Bobby still tried to use a tragedy for his own personal gain, and that will stay on the record forever.

Other Career Lessons For Bobby Valentine (And You)

Bobby V should follow reason #1 in this article about CEOs with bad executive brands.

He could probably also use some help with how to build positive workplace relationships.

Numbers 1 and 10 definitely apply to him in this story of ours: 10 Bad Habits That Can Harm Your Career.


Photo Credit: Keith Allison

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