SBD/September 19, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Matt Harvey Criticized For Touting Qualcomm During Awkward Dan Patrick Interview

Harvey faced backlash on Twitter over promoting Qualcomm in an interview
Mets P Matt Harvey yesterday during an interview on "The Dan Patrick Show" "came off as an awkward disciple of the Qualcomm corporation," according to Kristie Ackert of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Harvey, when pressed by Patrick to discuss his elbow injury said, "Today is about honoring and supporting Qualcomm." The "strange interview quickly went viral and was even played in the Mets clubhouse, causing some players to shake their heads." There also was "an immediate backlash on Twitter." A source said that Harvey's interviews yesterday for Qualcomm "were not set up through the Mets." A source said that they also were "the first interviews he did where he was hired to plug a specific company." Harvey later "admitted his mistake in a series of tweets." Harvey wrote, "I’ve had a few rough outings on the mound, that was a rough outing on the radio this morning... Been an exhausting couple of days. Apologies to @dpshow and @Qualcomm" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/19). In N.Y., Tim Rohan noted when athletes appear on a radio show "to pitch something -- be it a product, charity effort or company," they traditionally "give an interview, answering relevant questions, and then are allotted time to pitch whatever they want" (NYTIMES.com, 9/18). NBCSPORTS.com's Craig Calcaterra wrote, "You can practically hear the publicist in his ear telling him to pitch the product" (NBCSPORTS.com, 9/18).

STAYING ON MESSAGE: Harvey during the interview was discussing his decision to do rehab instead of surgery on his injured arm, but then said, "I strongly believe that that's going to work and pay off, but today, I'm here talking about Qualcomm and hoping I can help them out as much as possible." Patrick said, "Well, I'll let you get the pitch in there -- no pun intended -- in a moment." Harvey was asked whether he was afraid of getting Tommy John surgery and dealing with the injury, but instead of addressing those issues, he said he "did all those answers yesterday and maybe at the appropriate time we can talk a little bit more about that but obviously today is about Qualcomm." Patrick appeared surprised by this reply and said, "You don’t want to talk about this whole rehab and Tommy John?" Harvey said, "I will. We can set up another call if you'd like to about that subject but today we're honoring and supporting Qualcomm." After Patrick hung up the phone, he told the show's producers he wasn't "having him call in to talk about Qualcomm." Patrick: "He should know if you're going to pitch a product, how this works is we let you pitch a product, but you do a full interview" ("The Dan Patrick Show," 9/18).

TWITTER REAX: Harvey's interview and subsequent apology generated plenty of reaction on Twitter yesterday. SI.com’s Jimmy Traina: “Classy & smart move by @MattHarvey33 apologizing for doing a bad radio interview. ... I've done a few interviews I never posted because all athlete wanted to do was plug. I wish they've would've apologized.” ESPN N.Y.'s Andrew Marchand wrote, "The interview was silly, but apologizing makes it seem like he did something much worse than just conduct a terrible interview." SI's Richard Deitsch: "@AndrewMarchand Gotta disagree. It's a classy move by Harvey to apologize. There's an implicit agreement here. You plug, you talk." ESPN N.Y.'s Mike Mazzeo: "The real question is why did Matt Harvey apologize to Qualcomm. Qualcomm should be thanking Harvey." NBCSports.com's Craig Calcaterra: "The Harvey/Qualcomm backlash is ironic. What he's promoting is product which helps fans get involved in games via social media/cellphones." NBC Sports Group VP/Original Programming Ron Wechsler: "You can literally see the publicist in the room w/Harvey, frantically scratching on a paper imploring him to pivot to Qualcomm. So silly." NFL Network's Rich Eisen: "Whatever you do, stick to that script RT @CaughtOffBase: I'm just here to tweet about Qualcomm." ESPN's Darren Rovell: "It’s Qualcomm’s responsibility to tell Matt Harvey what the expectation is for a radio interview promotion. Last question is standard." Yahoo Sports' Greg Wyshynski: "Matt Harvey is either the greatest or most terrible pitchman in sales history." The Wall Street Journal's Brian Costa: "If he had a sense of humor, Ben Bernanke would come out today and say simply, 'Today is about Qualcomm.'"
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