The sudden emergence of high-school tweets from quarterback Josh Allen has plenty of intriguing tentacles regarding how the mess was made and what’s being done to clean it up.
Regardless of whether someone deliberately lit the fuse on the tweets within 24 hours of the draft in order to make Allen fall, the tweets were hiding in plain sight. As explained by Ryan Glasspiegel of TheBigLead.com, the Yahoo Sports writer who brought the tweets to light said that the tweets had not been deleted as of Wednesday night.
This means that, despite the presence or absence of nefarious intent, someone failed to spot and to scrub the offensive messages before the offensive messages hit the fan. Which arguably isn’t a good look for CAA, the mega-agency that represents Allen.
To its credit, CAA instantly mobilized to clean up the mess. Resisting the temptation to let Allen speak publicly about the situation was important, because the risk of an untrained, inexperienced public speaker making things worse likely outweighs the likelihood that things will be better. To tell Allen’s story, CAA apparently hand-picked CAA-client Stephen A. Smith to be the media member who received a late-night phone call from Allen aimed at apologizing for and explaining the tweets.
Smith, who claimed “I don’t have any idea why he picked up the phone and called me at two o’clock in the morning,” passed along the things Allen said in a concise and persuasive way. At one point, Smith said “they” (presumably, Allen’s agents) sent Smith a clip from Modern Family supporting Allen’s view that he wasn’t speaking in his own voice but making a reference to the TV show.
On that same show, Adam Schefter claimed that the tweets had been deleted in January, which suggests that someone from CAA properly had scrubbed Allen’s social-media accounts. Glasspiegel insists, based on his communications with Ryan Young of Yahoo Sports, that this simply isn’t accurate, which suggests that the tweets hadn’t been spotted and killed.
Many valuable lessons can be learned from this situation. But even if the problem should have been detected and neutralized before the tweets hit the fan, it’s clear that CAA has the size and the relationships to clean things up quickly and, by all indications, effectively.