Last week, Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports made waves by complaining about the Panthers’ refusal to allow the media into their player-organized lockout workouts. This week, Mike Garafolo of the Newark Star-Ledger is taking the Giants to task for a session that included an across-the-board refusal to talk to the press while the players left the location of the practice.
Garafolo reports that 39 Giants showed up for workouts at Bergen Catholic School on Tuesday, and not a single player would answer a question on the record. One player said that they had been told not to talk, and Garafolo suspects that center Shaun O’Hara, the team’s NFLPA* rep, gave the order.
“[A]t a time like this, where fans across the league feel as alienated as ever, each rejected interview request only serves to drive the divide even further,” Garafolo writes.
Though we disagreed with Silver’s position that media should be given access to practice by players who have more things to worry about than keeping an eye on what the media is doing and whether their radar lock on Cam Newton would amount to a distraction, we can understand Garafolo’s frustration over the refusal of the Giants players to say anything. If, as Garafolo surmises, the players fear saying something that could undermine their collective position in the lockout, the players could say they’ll only talk about things that happened during the practice, from which the media wasn’t excluded.
In the end, if the players don’t want to talk, they don’t have to talk. But they continue to work in an industry that relies on fans paying attention to what the players do, and one way to get the fans to pay attention is to give the media something to which attention can be paid.