Thursday, October 8, 2009


Former CFL outstanding player Kerry Joseph, the Toronto Argonaut quarterback, probably has a right to be frustrated about how his season has unfolded. After being traded to Toronto from Saskatchewan last season, Joseph has lost his starting job to Cody Pickett, who in turn has struggled and was replaced by Joseph in the second half of a loss to Montreal. Add in the fact that the Argos have the worst record in the CFL and you have a recipe for just the kind of quote Joseph provided media when he described his Argo season as a “fiasco.” The problem is that using such loaded words or phrases takes the temperature up several notches, often higher than you as a communicator intended. Joseph was being asked about the fact that he hasn’t been informed by the Argos coach whether he’d get a chance to start the team’s next game. The result? An attention-grabbing headline in the Toronto Star that said: “Time with Argonauts ‘a fiasco,’ says Joseph.” It’s a sweeping statement. It tends to preclude any kind of positive resolution to the situation, never mind how his coach (undecided about giving Joseph another chance at the starting job) might react. The only time it makes sense to use such loaded language is when you plan to do it deliberately, you have war-gamed out the results in advance, and discussed it with your team in advance. To do it on the spur of the moment, out of frustration, is almost always a Fumble.

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