The NFL can’t beat TMZ, but the NFL won’t be joining TMZ.
NFL special counsel for conduct Todd Jones told reporters on Wednesday that the league won’t start paying for videos or other information relevant to investigations regarding player misconduct.
“I think that is not likely at all, for a number of reasons,” Jones said regarding the possibility of paying for videos. “Not the least of which is you all have a journalistic privilege, you all have First Amendment protections. You all can get information from sources and wrap it up in sort of like sources . . . we don’t have that luxury. To become mercenary and pay for videos opens up a Pandora’s box of all kinds of opportunities and things that may come to us from not just surveillance video in public places or surveillance video in residences, but you’re talking about the world of social media and everybody on a smart phone as TMZ’s in the business of doing, is buying people’s smart phone snippets for a fee, and the NFL’s not going there.”
That echoes an explanation posted here last Wednesday regarding the question of whether the league’s effort to track down videos would include cutting checks. And while the league has its own journalistic arm, the NFL wouldn’t be buying videos to publicize them for media purposes but to use them as the basis for imposing discipline.
Indeed, the NFL in most cases would be tempted to conceal the videos. Which leads back to the question of whether the NFL truly wants to get these videos, or whether the NFL is content to simply wait for someone else to get the video (or, even better, not get the video) and then shrug and say, “Well, we tried.”