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Hockey Canada: Scandal Playbook Strategy 3

October 8th, 2022 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, when the burning ship finally sinks beneath the waves, will anyone still be on board?

Unless you are living under a rock, you will have heard of the sexual misconduct scandal that has rocked Hockey Canada. Despite the public outcry and the grilling by federal authorities, Hockey Canada executives insist against all reason that they occupy the high ground and are refusing any changes to the leadership group.

Sadly, this kind of scandal is a common occurrence in the business and political world in this day and age. I personally believe there is Scandal Playbook laying out several strategies that these beleaguered organizations turn to when the proverbial shit hits the fan.

Scandal Playbook Strategy 1: Find Someone to Take the Bullet

In this process, aka Find a Fall Guy, the leadership group selects one executive to hang the whole mess on – designating him/her to take the bullet on behalf of the other executives. No one really believes that the misconduct was restricted to one person. But the sacrificial lamb satisfies the need for action. The executive who takes the bullet gets an under the table golden handshake.

The crisis management public messaging is: This one man/woman singlehandedly perpetrated the wrongdoing. The rest of us are squeaky clean and not at fault. We have removed the bad apple. All is good now.

Scandal Playbook Strategy 2: Throw Yourself on the Mercy of the Court

In this process, aka the Mea Culpa option, the offending business or organization does the best they can to get out in front of the controversy. They admit not to wrongdoing but to a temporary lapse in judgement or a best intention gone wrong. Some members of the Board of Directors or senior leadership may resign without prejudice.

The crisis management public messaging is: We are so very sorry for what happened. We really did not mean to break the rules and arguably did not. We are reviewing all of our policies to ensure this kind of thing never happens again. We promise we will do better.

Scandal Playbook Strategy 3: Circle the Wagons

In this process, aka the Stonewall Option, executives at the offending organization close ranks and present a united front. The rules of engagement are clear. Never under any circumstances answer a question directly. Generate as much rhetoric as possible. Bury the affair under a snowstorm of political doublespeak.

The crisis management public messaging is: We did nothing wrong. We made responsible decisions under difficult circumstances in the best interest of all involved. No one will be fired or will step down. We have no further comment on the matter.

Hockey Canada by all appearances has selected option three. In a way, I have to grudgingly admire how resolutely they are sticking by their indefensible position even as I condemn them ethically. But the ship is both on fire and sinking as sponsors of all stripes pull out and the federal government loses its patience.

The end is coming for Hockey Canada. It looks like it will be a spectacular ball of fire as the executives involved execute their exit strategies that were no doubt created long ago.

~ Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Diet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at .

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