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.
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?