NFL, NFLPA should allow vaccinated reporters to return to locker rooms

SoFi Stadium Media Tour
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Media access to athletes has become one of the hottest topics in sports. Regardless of whether and to what extent the mental health of players will shape the extent to which the concept of mandatory press availability is relaxed, that has no bearing on a separate question looming over sports like the NFL.

The leagues and their unions must not be allowed to continue to justify reduced access due to the pandemic.

Last year, it was understandable that access would be eliminated. This year, there’s no good reason to keep reporters who have been vaccinated out of locker rooms.

The Washington Post reports that the NFL is nevertheless expected to “keep its locker rooms closed to reporters when teams report to training camps and begin playing preseason games this summer,” via Sports Business Journal. Per the report, the training-camp procedures are “probably a strong indication of what’s in store for the regular season,” as well as a “sign that restrictions placed on sports media during the coronavirus pandemic might stretch into the fall or beyond.”

If players who aren’t vaccinated will be permitted in locker rooms, media who have been vaccinated should not be excluded. It’s illogical and inconsistent with the league’s faith in the COVID-19 vaccines if reporters who have been vaccinated can’t return to locker rooms during the practice week and/or after games.

Press conferences aren’t good enough. Reporters need to be able to approach players individually, to witness the broader dynamics of the scene. To sometimes hear from beyond the door to the locker room the shouting and other noises that emerge after a game.

It’s wrong for the NFL or the NFL Players Association to milk the pandemic as justification for minimizing access. It appears that this is exactly what will happen. While there are valid reasons for a broader conversation when it comes to forcing specific players to speak, there is no reason to prevent reporters from being in position to observe, to inquire, and to listen.

28 responses to “NFL, NFLPA should allow vaccinated reporters to return to locker rooms

  1. I disagree. Reporters dont NEED to be in locker rooms. Locker rooms should be private to the team.

  2. They should let all vaccinated and unvaccinated reporters back in. There, I fixed it for you. If you’re sick, don’t go to work. It’s as simple as that.

  3. As a fan, press conferences are more than good enough for me. Leave them alone in the locker room.

    I felt we had much better access to players last year thanks to innovators like Pat McAfee. Legacy media outlets really need to think about how to evolve in a changing world.

  4. i think its best for the players mental health to not have reporters in the locker room…it’s not worth the trigger…

  5. digilat7 says:
    June 4, 2021 at 12:54 pm

    I disagree. Reporters dont NEED to be in locker rooms. Locker rooms should be private to the team.

    ———————————————————————-

    If that’s how they feel, the the NFLPA should make that argument and not hide behind Covid. Florio is correct that the NFL and NFLPA are milking Covid to keep reporters out of the locker room.

  6. Media should just be banned from the locker room forever. No reason to have media in there. Speak to the players during media sessions and the like. The locker room is their space.

  7. Get rid of journalists in the locker room and the little halftime / in between quarters interview where they bother the coaches that should only be focused on the gameplan.

  8. Unnecessary. Less is more. Resisted access didn’t diminish the product in any noticeable way. NFL and other sports should reconsider their relationship with media but they won’t.

  9. There is a serious lack of focus in our society placed on mental health.

    That said… in regards to the chaos that mental illnesses bring to families and loved ones, the athlete/interview conversation seems to get the most media attention while impacting the lowest number of people.

    If a sports league chose to not allow locker room interviews in the name of mental health, that would be sticking your flag on the wrong hill. There are countless more meaningful ways for a league to make an impact on mental health.

  10. The NFL is using covid as an excuse to keep the media away, and the media is using the vaccine as an excuse to get access. How about just make an informal interview area outside the lockerroom where players can choose to come into to do interviews? Some smart players will use that opportunity to parlay into commercials and to set themselves up for future media gigs post-playing career.

  11. PartyonWayne says:
    June 4, 2021 at 1:25 pm
    Media should just be banned from the locker room forever. No reason to have media in there.
    _________

    Some people do not realize that, without the media, you would not get any information about your team or the players. Without reporters there would be no accountability for errors.

    Some people love to bash the media, but without the media none of us would have access to any information.

  12. There is too much media in regards to sports.
    There is nothing of interest to be learned in the locker room.

    Journalists are generally biased anyway and report as they see it so nothing objective can be gained.

  13. Haha – rriigghht. It doesn’t work like this. You can let reporters in who have been vaccinated, who have already had Covid (have antibodies) or who do a day of test there at the Stadium.

    you can’t force people into a vaccination – some people can’t be vaccinated.

  14. Vaccinated yes. Unvaccinated no that’s a danger to the players workplace.

  15. Sorry, Media pushed the Covid scare. No Media in Locker rooms until nobody in the world has covid. It’s to keep us all safe.

  16. Do Not need reporters in locker rooms, game is over post game shows are too long

  17. gibson45 says:
    June 4, 2021 at 1:39 pm
    PartyonWayne says:
    June 4, 2021 at 1:25 pm
    Media should just be banned from the locker room forever. No reason to have media in there.
    _________

    Some people do not realize that, without the media, you would not get any information about your team or the players. Without reporters there would be no accountability for errors.

    Some people love to bash the media, but without the media none of us would have access to any information.

    19 87 Rate This

    —————-

    What “information”? As a diehard Pats fan, I want a good product, not “information”.

    It’s not anyone’s business what the team is saying, practicing or wanting to accomplish.

    I absolutely love how BB doesn’t play into their baited questions and shenanigans, protecting the players.

  18. If the vaccine works great, and all players and coaches are vaccinated, what’s the problem. I’m 60 and AM NOT getting it. I was told I have T cell immunity. Why would I get it?

  19. One thing that was proven last season is that we don’t need media in any locker rooms!

  20. The best quotes from any game are captured in the locker room shortly after the game is complete. Fans are extremely demanding when it comes to content and the press acts an an intermediary between the players, coaches, and fans. Even those fans following crappy teams like the Giants, Jets, Bungles, and Lions care about what’s actually happening with the team. Good beat reporters actually ask the questions fans want to know because without them, you’d be left swallowing what ever the team wants you to believe put out by their PR person. The same people that spin the status of the team and having you believe that *every* year your Dallas Cowboys are making a run to the Super Bowl (btw, Dak will never get them there).

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