Athletes and Team Executives: Six Security Questions They Must Consider
By Gary Raphael, Senior Vice President of TorchStone
Too many current and former professional athletes face off-the-field threats to their lifestyle and physical safety. While success on the field can bring public adoration and financial achievement, it can also create an elevated public profile, increased public scrutiny, and less personal privacy. Fortunately, these issues can be successfully managed without the individual feeling like they’re perpetually playing defense.
Coaches, team executives, and on-air personalities are also vulnerable to threats like those faced by the players on the field. Affiliation with a team can make everyone the potential target of an overzealous fan. Moreover, schedule predictability, whether for practices of games, gives someone looking to inflict harm a potential advantage. High profile individuals are also some of the most highly prospected people on the planet. Few businesses are reluctant to have them in their client pool. They are a constant target for the next can’t-miss opportunity or sweetheart deal.
As a trusted security and risk management firm catering to high-profile individuals and global sporting events, TorchStone has extensive firsthand experience engaging with athletes. Our assessment of their primary security needs are summarized here:
- The modern professional athlete has more opportunity on and off the field than ever before, but subsequently faces more complex risks.
- How an athlete is perceived personally and professionally can directly impact the value of their contracts, their endorsements, and their post-playing career.
- The typical athlete routinely changes their physical address creating vulnerabilities associated with unfamiliar surroundings and introduction to new, unknown contacts.
- High profile money attracts potentially high-profile problems and makes professional athletes more susceptible to lawsuits. Even frivolous ones can have dire consequences for a player’s brand.
- Friends and family mean well, but it’s critical to make sure that financial opportunities are fully vetted prior to investments being made.
- Boosting an athlete’s online profile can enhance their brand and revenue opportunities, but maintaining a strong brand requires a security resource who can proactively develop and administer social media best practices for the athlete and family.
- A “security coach” should be a critical part of the resource team and will provide a differentiating capability.
- This “security coach” can also play an important role in the event of a crisis, helping to manage the impact of the event and accelerate reputational recovery.
To help athletes put these observations into everyday practice, we have condensed them into the following six questions. These questions illustrate the types of risks that we at TorchStone resolve every day on behalf of established and former athletes:
- Has a comprehensive personal security assessment been completed at your residence, including pragmatic guidance on reducing your risk and improving your safety?
- Has a comprehensive assessment been made of your current or prior social media activity? If so, have tactics that you understand for safeguarding access to private information been put in place?
- Is there ongoing monitoring of social media activity, including blogs and postings that could be potentially harmful to your reputation or “brand?”
- Has a comprehensive assessment of your home’s network and devices been undertaken to reduce the prospect of identity theft, of hacking, and to enhance the security of any sensitive information being transmitted and/or shared by you and your family across multiple connected devices (smart phones, tablets, etc.)?
- Are travel and emergency protocols (both on the road for you and at home for your family) reviewed prior to each time you travel? Is the creation of a customized emergency plan part of that review to ensure a safe outcome to an unforeseen event?
- Have all new and existing staff and financial advisors been screened to assure that their prior experience can be validated and any past criminal activity is proactively identified before access is granted to bank accounts and/or family members?
When these issues are not assessed annually, high-profile sports professionals and their families can become unnecessarily vulnerable to risk. Proactively addressing them enhances their physical safety immeasurably. It also protects their homes, lifestyles, personal data, privacy, reputations, and the irreplaceable trophies and keepsakes amassed over a career.
Gary C. Raphael has nearly 30 years of experience protecting the interests of high net worth and high-profile individuals and families. His particular area of expertise is property casualty insurance with an emphasis on vulnerability assessment, risk mitigation, and disaster recovery.
Please visit TorchStone’s Team page to learn more about Gary C. Raphael.
To learn more about our Sports Practice, please contact us.