After an unusual game when he hit the uprights four times, the Bears took the unusual step of having kicker Cody Parkey practice alone at Soldier Field this week, instead of with the rest of the team at the training facility.
Then, they took the unusual step of censoring the local media.
In what can reasonably be described as overkill, two local television stations (WGN and WLS) sent helicopters to hover over Solider Field to get footage of Parkey’s workout.
According to Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Tribune, WGN got a live shot of his practice on air, but the the team squelched future airings of the footage.
Soldier Field is owned by the City of Chicago’s park district, ostensibly making it a public facility and calling into question how much right the Bears have to do so. But the team cited restrictions on practice video, and prohibited the stations from sharing the footage on the air or online.
A Bears spokesman said Thursday the team took the steps “after calls (Wednesday) night from competing local media complaining that we were not enforcing” the practice coverage policy. They did not identify the identity of the outlet that complained.
If one was a skeptic, one might reasonably wonder whether those complaints actually happened, or whether the Bears were just exercising the paranoia that most teams fall victim to. It’s impossible to imagine what competitive advantage the Vikings might receive from watching Zapruder footage of Parkey kicking, whether he’s doing trick shots or not.
Or maybe since so many people close their eyes when Parkey’s kicking, they’re just extending the courtesy to everyone else.