by Jack Bechta
June 13, 02012
Today’s NFL rookies are stepping into the most covered sport in the USA in a time when both mainstream and social media are vying for their attention. Every word out of a player’s mouth, every post on Twitter and Facebook are headlines for a would-be journalist. So rookies beware, you are being hunted, stalked and followed. Any slip-ups with the media can wreak havoc on your relationships with your coaches and teammates. So here are some simple ways to deal with the media:
ICONTim Tebow always does a great job of handling himself in front of the media while showing credit to his teammates.
1) Follow the lead of your Head Coach /GM: If an NFL team formally told their players that they can’t talk to the media, they can’t have a Twitter and Facebook account and they can’t do interviews under any circumstances, the players union would be reacting aggressively in retaliation to such commands. However, it does happen in an informal manner. Some NFL coaches have told their players to refrain from doing interviews or talking to the media. I know this as fact as my clients have told me. Some coaches anoint a few veterans they trust as spokesmen for the team. When my clients ask me about having a twitter account I usually tell them that I am for it but please see if their team has any type of formal or informal policy about it. I know one newer head coach that dropped his twitter account (with a huge following) when he took his new NFL job because he didn’t want to encourage his players to have an account.
2) There is no such thing as “off the record”: When a player lands with his new team he can’t help but love the attention of the media. As the local media types get to know the player, they can get close, real close. It’s not uncommon for players and media personalities to run in the same circles or visit the same restaurants and bars. I see it all the time. I can’t tell you how many times I walked into a restaurant where the local beat writer or radio talk show personality is hanging out. In these social settings a reporter may ask a question about an injury of another player or who is getting reps with the 1’s at a certain position. And of course framed with an ”off the record of course” comment. Once a reporter gets an off the record quote then they may get a confirmation from another source.
3) Leave it in the locker room: A lot of crazy things happen in the course of the season. Fights, pranks, fines, even heated arguments between players and coaches, and lots of dirty laundry and personal business gets aired in the locker room, on the road and during camp. Keep it in the family, don’t gossip and always protect your teammates. Don’t talk to anyone and I mean anyone about what goes on during team time.
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