Making youth sports safer post-abuse allegations

Strategic response, management, and quick actions to improve practices mitigate crisis.

Challenge

Amateur Athletic Union, among the nation’s largest nonprofit volunteer sports organizations, was contacted by an ESPN reporter requesting comment on allegations of sexual abuse lodged against its former president, dating back several decades. AAU had never faced a crisis of this gravity and did not have a crisis plan or even a communications officer in place. Sachs Media Group was brought on to help maintain balanced news coverage for AAU and prevent backlash from concerned parents.

Breakthrough

We immediately implemented a crisis management initiative, advising AAU to open clear and consistent communication. Other tactics included a video statement distributed to media, a news conference where AAU directly addressed the issue, and two independent task forces created to evaluate the screening practices of volunteers and recommend improvements.

Press Coverage

Crisis & PR

President & CEO Ron Sachs and the Sachs Media Group team promoted fair and balanced coverage of the abuse allegations against AAU.

News media outlets including CNN, among many others, aired and published significant stories that reflected AAU’s position and commitment to protecting young athletes.

Outcomes

Hailed

For its decisive, proactive response in handling the crisis

Issued

their findings six months later by task forces