As the first full Sunday of the 2020 regular season looms, one specific group of team employees who perform a critical function on game days are facing an unprecedented challenge thanks to unprecedented limitations on their ability to do their jobs.
Team P.R. representatives will have dramatically limited access on game days, due to the COVID-19 restrictions. Only one P.R. employee will be permitted in the locker room after games in order to facilitate virtual press conferences and all other media requests for the entire team. Road teams, due to restrictions to the traveling party, will be limited to two P.R. representatives for the entire trip.
In a normal year, there are no limits on the number of P.R. representatives that may assist with the various important functions that P.R. representatives perform in order to fulfill the league’s desire to promote the product by facilitating media access to players and coaches after the conclusion of games. Some teams have five or more P.R. employees assigned to the task of helping media and players/coaches connect.
PFT has spoken to several P.R. representatives regarding this issue, all of whom requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the topic. And the message has been universal: These limitations fail to reflect an understanding of both the importance and the demands of the job.
There’s still a chance it will change; there’s no reason for it not to. As Tier II members of an organization, the P.R. employees are tested on a daily basis, the same as the players and coaches. On game days, the P.R. employees are critical to the league’s overall goal of promoting a full and robust discussion of the aftermath of each and every game by making available to those who cover the sport the people that they most want to talk to.