Jim Nantz’s refusal to mention the Peyton Manning HGH allegations during Sunday’s Chargers-Broncos game likely traces to the delicate balance between NFL broadcast partners and the importance of having good relationships with key players and coaches for the purposes of production meetings and other dynamics related to presenting a pro football game on TV. But there’s another element to this one, as reported by Christian Red and Michael O’Keeffe of the New York Daily News.
Nantz and Manning are both represented by Sandy Montag. They’ve appeared together in commercials for Sony and Papa John’s, presumably thanks to the efforts of Montag to secure the endorsements.
Montag also helped former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer launch his sports P.R. firm more than a decade ago. Fleischer has been hired by Manning to preside over the unnecessarily aggressive effort to push back against the Al Jazeera story alleging that Ashley Manning received multiple shipments of HGH, with the clear implication being that the HGH was intended for use by Peyton.
“I didn’t even know Sandy represented Nantz and in all cases, I haven’t asked Sandy to do anything on this,” Fleischer told the Daily News.
Fleischer’s response implies that news discretion gets exercised only in response to a direct request. Discretion is typically exercised more discreetly (sorry, I couldn’t think of another word).
Montag gets it; Nantz gets it. Peyton is part of the broader business family, and Nantz apparently chose to protect him. Or, perhaps more accurately, to avoid pissing him off.
Surely, after communicating with Manning and the Broncos in the days preceding the game, Nantz and CBS knew that they needed to tread lightly on the HGH angle. The easiest way to do that was to declare that the whole thing is a non-story.
“The reason that Jim did not rehash this eight-day old story during the broadcast was based on the actual news value of it,” a CBS Sports spokesperson told the Daily News.
So in seven days, the story goes from having enough value to dominate the entire NFL coverage to being not worthy of even a passing mention during a three-hour program?
While transparency would be refreshing, nuances like these have become easy to justify at a time when PLENTY of people in the media are represented by agents with firms that also represent the athletes and coaches they cover — and when pretty much every professional team and league have hired their own reporters to cover the teams and leagues themselves.