Andrea Kremer interviews Jim Irsay on Real Sports. Andrea Kremer interviews Jim Irsay on Real Sports. (HBO.)

So, you’re being interviewed by a prominent national media member. Congratulations! Well, maybe that’s not the right word. Careful! Yep, that’s better. If you’re the owner of a major sports franchise, take heed of the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald: “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.”

Think of that quote as a reminder that a little self-awareness can go a long way.

Common folks can’t connect with you. They’ll never experience the joys of tax loopholes, stadium public financing, or a leisurely superyacht cruise to a private island. The lack of struggle is real. You’re not the most relatable figure. No matter what possible hardships you’ve endured. Here at Awful Announcing, we’d like to help. Follow our easy steps to survive an in-depth interview with even the most dogged journalist.

Acknowledge your privilege: Rich people have problems, too. Irsay’s troubled and dysfunctional family is well-documented, and addiction and depression do not discriminate. However, the advantage of generational wealth is that you have access to the best of everything. That includes lawyers, doctors, mental health professionals, etc. For Iray’s sake, you hope that he’s in a better place in his life. However, if you’re a fellow sports team owner, absolutely, positively do not claim that a DUI arrest was the result of being prejudiced against because you’re a ‘rich, White billionaire.’” You might as well have a sign on your back that says, “Kick Me.” Irsay could have come across as a sympathetic figure. Instead, he stepped on a landmine. He should have just owned it by saying, “I’ve had many advantages in my life that most people don’t have. But addiction doesn’t care how much money is in your bank account. I had an experience that I deeply regret. I am a work in progress.”

Put your public relations team to work: One of the difficulties about being rich is that Yes Men surround you. These people aren’t going to give you sound advice. They’ll only tell you what you want to hear because they’re protecting their paycheck or, at least, their association with you. Don’t settle for bootlickers. Consult professionals. Irsay should have been prepared for every possible question and had a rehearsed response as if he were preparing to be on the witness stand for a felony trial. HBO’s Real Sports features skilled reporters. He should have been on guard despite Andrea Kremer’s previous history with Irsay. Have an accomplished PR team interrogate you with the most agitating and embarrassing questions. If Irsay had been adequately coached, he would have never come across as defiant or ridiculous.

Avoid threatening to sue the media: Public meltdowns are never well-received, especially when their on X/Twitter. Irsay’s airing of his grievances against First Take only made him look worse. If Irsay disputes some of the information that was broadcast, there are probably better ways to handle that. But immediately going to the nuclear option of threatening legal action makes you look unhinged. Plus, no owner really wants to get involved in a lawsuit where depositions and discovery could lead to more embarrassing details. ESPN has as many high-priced attorneys at its disposal as Irsay. Sometimes it’s just better to let things go.

Dazzle/distract the interviewer: Irsay did one thing right. Everyone loves to take a peek into the lives of the rich and famous. We want to see what kind of toys that big money can buy. Iray’s impressive display included a full-size ice rink with a Colts-branded Zamboni. His memorabilia collection has Ringo Starr’s drum set, which he bought at auction for $1.75 million, a Muhammad Ali boxing robe, and Wilson the volleyball from the movie Castaway. Fascinating, priceless stuff. Irsay probably should have leaned more into that instead of giving Kremer unfiltered access.

When all else fails, make a sizeable charitable donation: Sometimes you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. In case of a PR emergency, you can always buy yourself good publicity. After the interview aired, Irsay should have immediately cut a massive check to a charity or nonprofit, preferably one he has no direct connection to. Is it an obvious ploy? Yes, but these days no one is going to turn down a billionaire’s cash. Plus, you’re actually helping people.

There you have it. Of course, even if you do everything correctly, billionaires share the following with regular people. They are flawed human beings with egos and insecurities. Sometimes they say and do stuff they really shouldn’t. 

About Michael Grant

Born in Jamaica. Grew up in New York City. Lives in Louisville, Ky. Sports writer. Not related to Ulysses S. Grant.