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Von Miller shows what not to do when repairing a personal brand

Published October 30, 2013 at 12:42 pm

When drafted out of college as the second overall pick by the Denver Broncos three years ago, otherworldly linebacker Von Miller didn’t appear to have any red flags that would suggest anything but a productive playing career, short of a spate of unpredictable injuries.

But that was before a six-game suspension for trying to cheat a drug test and ongoing legal trouble related to a traffic violation. Perhaps it was Miller’s recent return to the field that caused him to show up late to a mandated court appearance this week. Either way, his reputation and personal brand have taken a hit — both from his original offenses and from poor damage control.

He’s hardly the first NFL player to face off-the-field troubles, but he is one of a few who have lofty off-field business aspirations. He graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in poultry science, which has led to the launch of his company, Miller Farms.

As long as he doesn’t follow in the footsteps of a certain meth kingpin masquerading as a chicken aficionado, Miller has a bright future — assuming he can repair his brand.

Even though the accusatory whispers still trail him in the wake of a murder charge that wasn’t, fellow linebacker Ray Lewis has shown that NFL players, through professional accomplishments and some force of personality, can repair even the most sullied of personal brands.

Compared to Lewis, the mountain Miller has to climb is no Everest. A productive season should be enough for NFL fans to forget the drug suspension and traffic violations. Sprinkle in a few community appearances and Pro Bowls, and Miller will be well on his way to redeeming his personal brand. Although, Broncos fans are likely to be more forgiving if he caps this season with a few sacks in the Super Bowl and a championship.

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