(SportsNetwork.com) - Reputation management is one of those flaky corporate terms that can leave you giggling at times.
That said, an explosion in social media over recent years has turned the actual idea of protecting your name into a thriving industry with numerous companies jockeying for a market share. Even Google has developed an alert tool to help its users manage their own search results.
"Your online identity is determined not only by what you post, but also by what others post about you -- whether a mention in a blog post, a photo tag or a reply to a public status update," the company explained when rolling out the feature a few years ago.
Of course, there is a far easier way to protect your own brand and perhaps it's best described by the Obama administration's spin on foreign policy -- "don't do stupid s@#$" is how high-level staffers described the POTUS' vision on diplomacy.
Reality, though, makes things a little tougher than that and Obama, like all politicians, has done quite a few foolish things over the years as the best- laid plans of he and his underlings have fallen far short of their own intentions.
That doesn't make the original thesis any less practical, though.
The bigger problem we all have is the simple notion that we all make mistakes, something talented former University of Washington cornerback Marcus Peters is trying to deal with right now.
Peters recently made a high-profile attempt to take the first step in rebounding from some of his blunders at UW.
From a football perspective, Peters is regarded as the one of the best cornerback prospects in the 2015 draft class, which figures to be light on help outside the numbers. In fact, some scouts believe the former Huskies star is the best man-to-man coverage option in the process.
After a standout sophomore season in 2013 when Peters earned second-team All- Pac-12 honors, he was named a 2014 midseason All-American by NFL.com in October and was leading Washington with three interceptions and seven pass breakups when he was kicked out of school.
"He's a first-round talent," one NFL general manager told USA Today. "I don't know if he's a top-10, but there's not a lot of great corners in this draft, either."
The issue for most teams as the NFL Scouting Combine approaches next week is the fact that Peters comes with plenty of baggage.
And coaches and scouts will be lining up in Indianapolis to query the Oakland native on his perceived character issues, some of which can be construed as serious red flags.
"I don't blame (Washington coach Chris Petersen) for anything," Peters told Tom Pelissero of USA Today earlier this week in his first interview since being kicked out of school. "All I can blame is myself, because I made those decisions and I have to live with them. Now I'll have to man up and I've got to answer these questions in interviews, and all I can do is sit there and answer truthfully and honestly."
Peters has already dipped his toe into the water, admitting to academic issues as well as a number of lapses in judgment at Washington which ultimately led to his dismissal from the program. He spoke of a sideline tantrum in September, copped to being late to a team meeting and admitted to testing positive for marijuana as a freshman before Petersen arrived to pilot the program.
He did, however, deny the most troubling report about him in which an unnamed scout told NFL.com that he witnessed an incident in which Peters "grabbed (an) assistant coach by the throat and started choking him."
"If I choked somebody, somebody's going to press charges on me and I've got a mug shot and it's open to the public," Peters claimed.
Peters' talent, along with the lack of depth at the cornerback position. is certainly going to help him as the draft approaches, but prospects with far fewer issues and more talent have dropped in the past.
"It would be tough for me to trust him as a first-round pick," an NFL scout told The Sports Network when discussing the 6-foot, 198-pound prospect. "Obviously the talent is there and if you need a corner, you're in a tough spot this year. To me, he's a second-round guy because of the off-the-field stuff. I wouldn't be comfortable (taking him earlier).
Peters is doing everything he can to remedy that take and make as many teams as possible more comfortable with the thought of drafting him, recently apologizing to Petersen, who in turn will allow Peters to participate in Washington's pro day on April 2.
"I apologized to (Petersen) once again, and I told him that I appreciate him even working with me," Peters said. "They were working with me a lot, and I just -- I didn't get it. I didn't see it in front of me that they were trying to help me out.
"To be honest, I would tell you today: Why wouldn't you kick me off the team? He was trying to help me. He was teaching me some hard lessons at that time, and I just didn't take it right."
OTHERS TO WATCH
Here's a look at five more players you should be keeping an eye on in Indy when things begin on Tuesday:
1. - Danny Shelton - defensive tackle, Washington - Peters' teammate at UW could solidify himself as a potential top-10 pick with a solid performance at the combine. The 6-1. 345-pound Shelton already had an excellent Senior Bowl week and has rare athleticism wrapped up in a nose tackle's body.
2. - Cedric Ogbuehi - offensive tackle, Texas A&M - For a while it looked like Ogbuehi was in line to be the Aggies' third straight OT taken in the top 10 (Luke Joeckel, Jake Matthews), but a torn ACL in the Liberty Bowl against West Virginia likely ended those dreams. He'll only participate in the bench press at the combine, so he has to flash the functional football strength to hit the ground running at the professional level while also convincing teams he is progressing through the injury at a satisfactory rate.
3. - Bryce Petty - quarterback, Baylor - In a quarterback-light year, only two signal callers have been given first-round grades by most scouts -- Florida State's Jameis Winston and Oregon's Marcus Mariota. Intriguing Baylor project Bryce Petty could battle UCLA's Brett Hundley for the right to be the next QB off the board.
At 6-3, 230, Petty has the measurables that NFL teams look for, but he's been pigeonholed as a spread offense quarterback, who will need plenty of time to learn the intricacies of a traditional NFL system. The positives to Petty are his size and mobility, along with strong natural leadership skills.
"I just want to prove that I can play in an NFL system," Petty said. "That it's not about this college system. I can do drops, I can read defenses, go through progressions, pick up NFL offenses, the verbiage, what I'm supposed to look at, all that kind of stuff."
4. - Dorial Green-Beckham, wide receiver, Missouri - Physically, the 6-6, 225-pound Green-Beckham looks like a combination of current Carolina Panthers' star Kelvin Benjamin and future Hall of Famer Randy Moss, but multiple marijuana incidents and a domestic violence offense in which Green-Beckham allegedly shoved a woman down a flight of stairs have put his future into question.
He missed all of last season after multiple off-field issues at Mizzou and a subsequent transfer to Oklahoma. As far as the interviews go, Green-Beckham has a tougher hill to climb than Peters because domestic violence has become such a big issue in the league and the latest misstep by Josh Gordon in Cleveland has to have everyone spooked when it comes to red flags with substance abuse.
It's hard to convince potential employees you've changed in one interview, but Green-Beckham has to certainly lay the groundwork in Indianapolis.
5. - Phillip Dorsett, wide receiver, Miami (Florida) - Dorsett will remind you of the Seattle Seahawks' Paul Richardson, a blazer with a small frame. He already had an excellent Senior Bowl week and is attempting to build on some buzz. At 5-10 and just 183 pounds, Dorsett led UM with 871 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior and averaged an eye-popping 24.2 yards per catch.