Portland Trailblazers hires comms VP to enhance image change

PORTLAND, OR: The Portland Trailblazers, the NBA team that once had such a bad reputation it was affectionately called the "Jailblazers" has appointed Art Sasse as VP of communications, a newly created role.

PORTLAND, OR: The Portland Trailblazers, the NBA team that once had such a bad reputation it was affectionately called the "Jailblazers" has appointed Art Sasse as VP of communications, a newly created role.

The team has done a lot of things exceptionally well through the years that have gone unnoticed because they have been overshadowed by the controversy and conflict," said Sasse. "We have a new coach and new players who are very articulate, and community-oriented."

Those problems included one player telling Sports Illustrated that the team didn't care about the fans, and a litany of alleged criminal activity -- drugs, wife beating, sexual assault, and battery -- by its players.

The position was created to shine a spotlight on the team's commitment to the community, said Sasse. VP of marketing Marta Monetti previously oversaw communications.

In particular, Sasse wants to focus on the team's close connection to local nonprofits. Those philanthropic efforts are among the things that have been overshadowed by the "perceived" image of the team, he said.

Sasse previously his own marketing and communications consultancy, BS Ltd.

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