Anger at new training camp media policies is quite enjoyable

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New general manager Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox have implemented a new set of policies regarding what the media can and can’t do in terms of filming or reporting what happens on the practice field, and apparently that has angered some members of the local media.

According to a piece by Ed Sherman of the Chicago Tribune, WLS-7’s Mark Giangreco was “fuming” over the policies.

Under these new policies — which only affect the 15 days of training camp, by the way; not the regular season — reporters are unable to blog or tweet on “team strategy or injury specifics,” they can’t report “which players are practicing with individual units,” they can’t interview players after practice without first requesting one from the team, and video and photos won’t be allowed during full team drills.

Stop the presses! What an awful set of rules! How can the media possibly do its job under such harsh working conditions?

Sarcasm aside, I’m actually quite pleased to see the media in such a tizzy over this.

“Football is action,” NBC-5’s Peggy Kusinski said. “We are denying the natural sense to ‘see’ that action. (Viewers) only will be able to hear about it.”

I’m sorry, Peggy, but the kind of “action” you are referring to that people so desperately crave is game action. Watching Matt Forte carry a football in helmets and shorts or Jay Cutler drop back to pass while a defensive end runs past him — because he’s not allowed to touch the quarterback — is not action that the mass public craves or needs to see.

As Sherman notes in the piece, Giangreco struggles to make sense of the social media ban for reporters considering thousands of fans in attendance have cell phones and unfettered access.

“Reporters can’t tweet, but there are 8,000 fans watching with smart phones who can?” Giangreco said.

Mark, do you realize how much bluster goes on via social media? Do you think anybody within the NFL gives any credence to random claims made by fans?

Sherman goes on to report that apparently the new rules have created “anxiety” in the press room.

Unbelievable. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

The rules are pretty simple. I’ll sum them up for you: Stay away from the players unless granted permission, don’t give any specifics about injuries or plays unless Coach Fox tells you, and don’t film or photograph anything that could be used against the Bears by other teams in the league.

Why is that complicated or anxiety-inducing?

I’ve long been a detractor from the Chicago sports media. I think most of them have egos a bit too heavy to carry around. When the media goes to training camp to broadcast news, it is supposed to be about the Bears, but the media wants to make it about themselves. They want to be the subject of their own reports. They need to get past this sense of entitlement as if the NFL owes them something.

Says Giangreco: “The NFL is the most powerful and paranoid entity in all of American sports. It wants to completely sanitize, sterilize and filter every piece of information. … It’s an absurd joke.”

No, Mark, the NFL is a business that can do whatever the heck it wants and owes you in the media nothing. The media is not entitled to anything; it is a privilege to get as much as they do.

But he does have one thing right: the NFL is the most powerful entity in American sports and the fans of this country crave it. The smartest thing Giangreco said in Sherman’s column was: “Fans don’t care [about the media policies]. They’ll take what the NFL gives them and like it.”

I couldn’t agree more. And I don’t feel one ounce of deprival not seeing training camp action.

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