Collectively, the NFL likes Hard Knocks. Individually, plenty of the league’s franchises have no interest in welcoming the cameras and microphones into their facilities.
“We wish that program all the success in the world,” Bears chairman George McCaskey told WSCR-AM on Friday, via the Chicago Sun-Times. “If we’re never on it, that’s just fine with us. Nothing new there.”
McCaskey has concerns about the language that makes its way onto the HBO series, in which the Bears or one of six other teams could be forced to star for 2016.
“I’m no prude — I grew up around locker rooms, I’ve heard all kinds of language — and I was shocked at the language,” McCaskey said. “There’s an intrusive element. When you’re telling a kid that his life’s dream has ended, at least as far as your team is concerned, we think that should be a private thing.”
Plenty of teams agree. But enough of them have decided that the league should embrace the show, which routinely subjects players who are in the process of losing their jobs to have that moment broadcast to the world.
McCaskey’s position generally about the show isn’t new or surprising. The Bears have become one of the most secretive organizations in football, routinely declining interview requests and at times alienating local reporters with a seemingly gratuitous lack of honesty and candor (e.g., the Kevin White injury). Part of the attitude comes for the ill-advised, Belichickian “anything we say can and will be used against us” mindset. But the Bears also have developed a strong desire to funnel news and access through their own website, via EXCLUSIVE! sit-downs between, as a practical matter, coworkers.
So maybe the real message is that the Bears would do Hard Knocks, but only if they had full control over the content — and if the episodes would appear solely the team’s official, in-house website.