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After a sex scandal, it’s time to put on your big boy pants

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Dear City of Louisville leaders,

Where are you? We’ve got a small image problem turning into an indelible stain. See: Rowan County’s Kim Davis, or Subway’s Jared Fogle, or Minnesota’s lion killing dentist.

The taunts are relentless. “Traffic reports say there is a mattress on I-65 near campus. Isn’t it illegal to destroy evidence?”

According to U of L, “This is our time to soar.”

Right now we’re just sore.

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After prostitute/daughter peddler Katina Powell got the ESPN car wash treatment, millions of viewers can’t help but think that The Ville has become The Vile.

Tom Jurich knows how to handle his business. Rick Pitino will relentlessly fight to protect his team. They’re battling sordid wildfires raging on campus, but their jobs are to protect their own fiefdoms.

The fact that the University of Louisville shares the city’s name means all one million metro residents are sullied by ghastly reports of prostitutes and strippers routinely running amok inside a university dormitory. Trafficking sexual favors to select teenage boys because they can dunk a basketball is beyond pathetic.

How much of it is real vs. how much is hyperbole is yet to be determined. Until investigations are complete, all Louisville residents are lumped into this sleaze bath.

National media is all over the story.

Google “Louisville” right now. What’d you get?

Wading chest high in scandal is no way to attract (or retain) business. How do our city leaders present Louisville to the next UPS, Aetna/Humana, Amazon, etc. without wisecracks like “Do we get hookers with that?”

ESPN completed its comprehensive investigation in less than two weeks. U of L hired former NCAA heavy Chuck Smrt to produce the school’s self-report. Who knows how long this will take? Campus police are conducting their own inquiry while the NCAA hovers over all of it.

Drip. Drip. Drip. What’s next for Louisville the city? Why wait?

Louisville leaders should immediately contract out-of-market crisis management specialists to redirect the narrative of our city before the sex scandal corrosion becomes irreparable.

Online messaging, push marketing, and some traditional media imaging can’t hurt. Let’s brag on our innovative companies, heroism stories, Idea Festival, health and educational achievements, etc.

Start here – it’s the script from the dreamy University of Louisville commercial that runs during national sports telecasts:

“This is our time to soar. We are an unstoppable force of innovation and academic excellence. Solving the world’s mysteries to research. Stimulating growth in our community and beyond. (And) inspiring the next generation of leaders to build a better future for all of us. We are the University of Louisville. Watch us take flight.”

Mayor Greg Fischer and Tom Jurich are not friendly. Jurich was hurt when Fischer led 100 business leaders on a 2012 discovery trip examining how the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA franchise jolted that city’s growth.

Jurich doesn’t want the NBA in Louisville because there are only so many corporate dollars available for perks like stadium suites and title sponsorships.

How do you suppose the University of Louisville’s latest sex scandal is playing at local business pillars Yum Brands and Papa John’s International? Both companies spend huge sums for stadium naming rights associated with a currently tarnished name.

Let’s get to work, crisis crushers.

Basic rules of crisis management are (1) have a plan, (2) be honest and open, (3) keep customers informed, and (4) update often.

U of L is only hitting point one.

The city of Louisville needs to hit points one, two, three, and four RIGHT NOW.

All of our leaders need to bury hurt feelings, put on their big boy pants and start working together to regenerate Louisville’s name in a positive light, “inspiring the next generation of leaders to build a better future for all of us.”

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dad. husband. observer. media personality. pathological flyer.