The Seattle Sonics announced today that Senior Public Relations and Community Relations Director Valerie O'Neil and Public Relations Director Marc Moquin will be leaving the organization. Moquin leaves as one of the longest tenured employees with 14 years of service to the team. O'Neil will take a new position as Director of Media Relations with Starbucks Coffee.
While the timing of these moves seems odd it is clear to myself as well as many other fans that the Sonics do need to change their public perception. Somewhere over the last several years there has been a failure of the PR department to create a positive image around the franchise.
I am not sure if this is the responsibility of either of the employees involved. Moquin's primary area of responsibility lies in connecting players and media, and dealing with the huge egos involved. I can tell you that Moquin was universally well liked and respected by the media. As I have never had any interaction with O'Neil I cannot comment on her exact role. I am not sure if either was directly responsible for advertising issues or the public commentary by ownership.