Illinois State Associate Dean Joe Blaney is author of Repairing an Athlete's Image: Studies in Sports Image Restoration. (Photo by Eric Stock/WJBC)
By Eric Stock
NORMAL - A communications professor at Illinois State who co-wrote a book on repairing an athlete's image after scandal said it's important for the athlete to admit they were wrong.
Author Joe Blaney, associate dean in ISU's College of Arts and Sciences, said that's something Lance Armstrong didn't do when he confessed to Oprah Winfrey that he took performance-enhancing drugs.
"He was attempting to be very contrite. He's saying, 'I'm sorry, it's on me, I shouldn't have done it,' and then he blames it on the environment," Blaney said, referring to Armstromg's claim that all of his competitors were also doping and he couldn't have won seven Tour de France titles without leveling the playing field.
Blaney said athletes also should show that they will get help, which he said Tiger Woods did after his extra-marital affairs. Blaney said that helped Tiger to begin restoring his public image.
Blaney said Notre Dame football player Manti Teo is the latest athlete who needs to come clean about what happened. He said Teo's story of a dead girlfriend who turns out never existed is something he needs to address before launching his pro career.
"My advice to Manti is to put this to rest. He should just say 'Boy this is a story that got out of control. I feel ultimately foolish and apologetic. I really want to put this behind me' and then disappear and wait until you are drafted," Blaney said.
Blaney suspected Teo was initially duped but then used the story for publicity to further his athletic career.
Blaney is co-author of Repairing an Athlete's Image: Studies in Sports Image Restoration. The book costs $85. Blaney said the hardcover book is intended largely as reference material for graduate and undergraduate students and for scholars doing advanced research.