Apparently, the Carolina Panthers had about 50 players attend their first informal offseason workout on Tuesday. But we can’t confirm this, because the Panthers hired a uniformed police officer to keep the media away from the practice.
Typical of a young, naive group of guys. At last check, the Panthers were the NFL’s youngest team — the majority of their players aren’t smart enough or haven’t had the chance to realize how helpful the media is to their careers. They see journalists as villains with twisted agendas, probably because that’s the way they’re portrayed in Hollywood films.
The Panthers felt the need to hire a human fly-swatter to keep the insects away. In reality, they’re all rich, partly because of the media that surrounds the team. They don’t technically owe it to their fans to allow the media to access their workouts, but it’s common courtesy to give reporters a chance to relay what’s happening to the season-ticket holders and merchandise buyers who pay their salaries.
Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports is pissed. He went off on the players in a column published earlier today:
You guys are acting like morons – and wimps. Yep, I said it, and I’m prepared to own it, because it’s my job to enunciate opinions and accept the consequences. Then again, I’m actually being paid for my endeavors, unlike Panthers workout organizer Jordan Gross(notes) and his locked-out teammates who nonetheless behaved as though the flow of information from day one of their faux minicamp was as privileged as their condescending owner, Jerry Richardson.
This just in, guys: Nobody wants to steal any of your secrets, unless they’re looking for a primer on how not to play professional football. And by locking out reporters – and, by extension, your fans – in the midst of a lockout, you are damaging your cause on numerous levels.
Silver calls the ploy yet another way in which the players are “copping an elitist attitude,” which has to be the case. This isn’t about privacy and protecting the secrets of the playbook — this is about power and control. It’s also bad business. The more exposure these players get, the better off they are.
As Silver states, the Panthers have “incorrectly identified the enemy.”
“The veil of secrecy, too, was to kind of make it so it doesn’t become weird with who was here and who wasn’t,” Jordan Gross told the Charlotte Observer. “We want to protect our teammates that were here and that weren’t here.”
I can understand that, but that information has reached the media anyway — and we all knew it would. I just can’t figure out how this is worth the backlash it has created.