Redskins apparently violating spirit of NFL media policy

Covering the Albert Haynesworth saga for reporters in Washington might become tedious as the conditioning test story plays out into its second week. But it provides the scribes a daily layup when it comes to news.

But Haynesworth’s inability to pass the conditioning test has put reporters in a bind when it comes to meeting with new defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, the man overseeing the 3-4 defense that was reportedly the root of Haynesworth’s unhappiness this offseason.

According to the Washington Post’s Jason Reid, Haslett is off limits until Haynesworth can pass the conditioning test. When and if that will ever happen, who knows?

“The Redskins have denied reporters permission to interview defensive coordinator Jim Haslett on any subject until Haynesworth is permitted to practice,” Reid wrote.

That fence around Haslett, however, would seem to be in direct violation of the NFL media policy that the league released before training camps opened. We’ll quote from the media policy directly here:

“Coordinators and other primary position coaches must be available on a reasonable basis during training camp and throughout the season through the team public relations department,” the policy reads. “Clubs may not put assistant coaches off limits to the media and may not unreasonably withhold permission for primary position coaches or coordinators to speak to the media.”

How it is “reasonable” for the Redskins to tie access to Haslett to Haynesworth’s conditioning is absolutely beyond me. What if Haynesworth doesn’t pass the test for two weeks, two months or two years? Reasonable? Hog wash. Spin control and the Redskins know it. Haslett needs to be made available for reporters. Pronto.

By the way, Reid reports that the combination of a sore knee and a slick practice field this morning prevented Haynesworth from attempting the conditioning test coach Mike Shanahan has mandated he pass before he will be allowed to practice and before Haslett’s muzzle will be removed.

But maybe there’s hope on the way. Haynesworth is now showing up at Redskins Park at 6 a.m. for a conditioning program tailored to his needs. We would like to think the Redskins would realize what they are doing clearly violates the league’s policy. You can debate all day if you would like how reasonable it is for Shanahan to hold this test over Haynesworth’s head. Linking Haynesworth’s fitness and the condition of his balky knee to Haslett’s availability is pure funny business.

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