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NFL censors Eisen’s Thanksgiving special

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The NFL’s effort to maintain an independent media presence constantly will be undermined by suspicions that the league expressly and/or implicitly shapes the content and the message in a way that makes the effort anything but independent.

Folks who work for the conglomerate known as NFL Media understandably are sensitive about that perception.  How do they feel, we wonder, when that perception becomes reality?

It happened most recently last week, when the league office completely removed from Rich Eisen’s Thanksgiving special an interview with Bradley Cooper, who stars in the new film Silver Linings Playbook.

“The segment was pulled because the movie included content related to gambling on NFL games,” the statement from NFL Network said, via Peter King of SI.com.
The segment didn’t include content related to gambling on NFL games.  The movie includes that content.  Specifically, the character played by Robert DeNiro is a small-time bookie.

King believes the move makes the league “look small and paranoid.”  It also makes the league look stupid.

Surely, someone at 345 Park Avenue knew in advance that Cooper had been booked for the show.  Surely, someone at 345 Park Avenue knew in advance that Cooper starred in a movie that “included content related to gambling on NFL games.”  Surely, someone at 345 Park Avenue knew the film also includes Eagles colors and jerseys and logos, something that the league would have had to approve at some point.  Surely, someone at 345 Park Avenue approved — or failed to block — the production of the special and the ensuing promotion of it.

As part of the promotional push, the league sent out on November 19 a mass email touting Cooper as a guest, and pointing out that he stars in Silver Linings Playbook.  When the show debuted, however, Bradley Cooper was as visible as his distant cousin D.B.

So with the league willing to engage in such an obvious and clumsy effort to censor Eisen’s show on such petty and irrational grounds, an important question arises.

How else is the NFL directing, in less obvious and clumsy fashion, the content and the message disseminated by NFL Media?

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17 Responses to “NFL censors Eisen’s Thanksgiving special”
  1. fuglyflorio says: Nov 26, 2012 9:48 AM

    If they wanted to draw attention to the massive gambling on NFL games … this is the way to do it.

  2. hardpeaches says: Nov 26, 2012 9:51 AM

    People gamble on the NFL?

    Ya don’t say?

  3. CKL says: Nov 26, 2012 9:52 AM

    Does anyone expect that the NFL’s own network wouldn’t be the PR arm of the league?
    That said, I heard Casserly make a slip up on Friday’s Around the League when he was doing picks. He said something about “the points” then laughed and said something like “we’re not supposed to talk about that” and corrected himself.

  4. MTLighthouse69 says: Nov 26, 2012 9:53 AM

    Who are you calling Shirley?

    I find it hard to believe that anyone takes the NFL Network seriously. They are nowhere near the disaster that ESPN has turned into, but they are getting there.

  5. joetoronto says: Nov 26, 2012 10:07 AM

    Surely, someone at 345 Park Avenue knew in advance that Cooper had been booked for the show.

    They’re doing everything they can, and stop calling me Shirley.

  6. bobleblah says: Nov 26, 2012 10:08 AM

    The people who run the NFL don’t seem to understand their fanbase, and their efforts to mainstream the sport are ruining it.

    The average NFL fan wants to watch hard-hitting defensive football and cheerleaders while drinking beers and betting on the point spreads that can be found in any sports section in any newspaper in this country.

  7. thehuckster404 says: Nov 26, 2012 10:22 AM

    Anyone checked to see if NFL Network is owned by ESPN/Disney?That explains a lot of this behavior.

  8. cidman2001 says: Nov 26, 2012 10:34 AM

    I’m just amazed that the greedy NFL owners haven’t caved to professional sports gambling and demanded a cut. The ostrich routine is getting really old. Do they really think they’re fooling anyone? Why bother putting on the act?

  9. calv23 says: Nov 26, 2012 10:41 AM

    Any Saints fan who’s been seeing the same misinformation on “bountygate” repeated like talking points on a cable news network could tell you just how independent the national media has been. I believe Vilma’s attorney called ESPN Goodell’s mouthpiece.

    I would also like to see someone investigate whether NFLN’s Warren Sapp was told to leak that Jeremy Shockey was the snitch who broke open the bounty investigation. He wasn’t fired or reprimanded for his actions, and it reeked of willful misdirection at the time.

  10. bringbackkosar says: Nov 26, 2012 10:47 AM

    You give NFLN too much credit for thinking, these are the same bozos who let Sapp “blow the whistle” falsely on the air, yet he’s still employed

  11. bobby927 says: Nov 26, 2012 10:52 AM

    If it wasn’t for gambling on football games, the NFL wouldn’t be the billion dollar giant that it has become. The NFL suits should get their collective heads out off their collective butts.

  12. cliffordc05 says: Nov 26, 2012 11:25 AM

    It is thoughtful and effective actions such as censoring the Eisen segment that will eventually lead to the end of gambling. Not just on NFL games but gambling in its entirety. The NFL should be commended for its efforts.

  13. harrisonhits2 says: Nov 26, 2012 12:21 PM

    The people running the league these days are attorneys and totally detached from what most fans want.

    They allow their vast greed to price the average fan out of being able to go with everything at the stadiums from the tickets and parking to the food and beer, and then wonder why they’re losing ground to the HD broadcasts.

    Then they give fans a hard time for standing up and cheering for their teams, yet claim the stadium experience is so great.

    The stadium experience sucks compared to what it used to be and as long as the league is run solely by what the lawyers want it will just get worse and worse.

  14. rcali says: Nov 26, 2012 1:56 PM

    Is this the same NFL that allows casinos to be advertised in their stadiums and during broadcasts?

  15. Mr. Wright 212 says: Nov 26, 2012 2:30 PM

    I love how the people who prognosticate and talk numbers all week act all aghast and what not when someone asserts that people gamble on NFL (or any sport).

  16. goldenghost129 says: Nov 26, 2012 5:07 PM

    So now the NFL is stupid. This is dumb.

  17. kgb108 says: Nov 28, 2012 6:08 AM

    I’ve noticed that in spending less and less time following not only my team but the nfl in general. Every year I go home in the fall I attend a game. I think those days are over. I’m not into gambling, but the nfl is becoming a joke under Goddell and I’m losing interest. I do love watching pro football but the product lately seems less interesting than it used to.

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