Rutgers University and athletic director Julie Hermann just can’t seem to get the idea through their heads that the school needs all the positive publicity they can get at this point, yet they just keep making public relations mistakes, although this time they may have crossed a serious line with that they did to former football player Eric LeGrand.
LeGrand, who has been paralyzed since he was injured on the field back in 2010, got a call from the university recently asking him if he would speak at their commencement ceremony. This was a wonderful decision, and they could not have asked a better person to complete the task.
But one phone call from Hermann was all it took to completely wipe all of that goodness away when she informed LeGrand that he would not be needed and they would instead be using New Jersey governor Thomas Kean, who didn’t even attend Rutgers.
Rutgers offered me the commencement speech this weekend and I was going to accept but they decided to go other ways for political reasons
— Eric LeGrand (@EricLeGrand52) May 6, 2014
As you would expect, LeGrand was devastated as he had an entire, wonderful plan in place for when he did speak.
“I was just going to tell them my story, about the whole process,” LeGrand told MyCentralJersey.com. “Starting in 2005, being recruited by Rutgers and what it meant to me to play here and go to school here. And then the way everybody supported me through my injury, I was just going to give inspirational words about how they should attack life. All the things I’ve learned so far. All the (graduates), they’re my age so I was going to try to (say) words they could remember, words that would inspire them to do great things in life.”
“I’m very upset about it,” he said. “I was all excited all weekend thinking about what I was going to say. It’s rough.”
There literally are no words for how bad this makes Rutgers University look. What might be even more baffling is how they’re seemingly oblivious to it.
Hermann and the school need to make this right, immediately.