What Crossing Broad and Other Bloggers Get Wrong About the Eagles’ Media Silence
The NFL Combine started this week, but we won’t hear anything from the Philadelphia Eagles — not from the head coach or an assistant, not from the newly named general manager or director of player personnel, not from Howie Roseman, whatever he is these days, and certainly not from the team owner Jeffrey Lurie.
The Eagles aren’t talking to the media because they choose not to.
In other words, we’ll have no idea who, or what position, the Birds will be focusing on at the combine. We’ll not be able to glean any information on the team’s possible pursuit of quarterback Marcus Mariota. And more importantly, fans won’t have any light shed on the team’s strange recent front office re-organization with Chip Kelly becoming franchise patriarch and Roseman being demoted to the dungeon.
Other than my daily radio rants about how the Eagles organization has a responsibility to open avenues of communication to their fans — the Birds are one of only three teams not talking at the combine; one of the others is the New England Patriots, who I think get immunity via their four Super Bowls — there is only one other column of outrage that I have read on this. Reuben Frank, who covers the Eagles for Comcast SportsNet, wrote a piece making the point that it’s not the media who loses when executives don’t talk, but the fans.
“The Eagles don’t believe it’s important for them to communicate with you and your friends and family, and that’s their right, but it’s a real slap in the face to fans who spend thousands of dollars a year in tickets, parking, jerseys, food and merchandise a year to support their team,” Frank wrote.
This was immediately met with the typical blog cynicism, especially from Philly’s Crossing Broad and its fearless leader, Kyle Scott, who mocked Frank for implying that the media protects the fans by being their conduit for information. (Crossing Broad bills itself as Philadelphia’s most irreverent sports blog, which might be akin to billing Johnny Third Grader as the loudest mouth in class.)
Today, two species of Internet media are slowly taking over the modern journalistic world: websites and blogs. The websites normally flow from legitimate journalistic endeavors, such as ESPN.com (which employs more reporters today than the old days when newspapers were king), or locally, CSNPhilly.com, which employs Eagles’ beat writers (as does this site’s Birds 24/7 channel). Blogs are normally nefarious observers, opining from outside the circle of knowledge. What flows from this is a situation where bloggers, folks who have never tasted the field of journalistic battle by neither covering a beat, nor interviewing pertinent parties directly, have nothing left but to try to mock or discredit the actual reporters in the field.
Hence, Crossing Broad can make the case that no one cares that the Eagles aren’t talking except the media member who got scorned.
But these blogs miss the big picture. It’s not what Chip Kelly might say. The important thing is that he is available to say something. It’s up to the crafty journalist to dig out the information from the source. If he can’t do it when given the opportunity, so be it. At least the organization has opened up an avenue to its customer instead of putting the franchise in a locked crate and hiding it away.
That’s just bad business. And nobody knows this better than Lurie, the Eagles owner, who dealt with a similar problem in 2011 when Andy Reid tried to pull the same sort of franchise kidnapping trick. Lurie was pressed on the issue of lack of media cooperation from Reid, then his head coach. And here’s what he said:
I think there is an attempt to try to be more accessible. I’ve tried to be a little more accessible in the off-season … It is my philosophy that you should try as an organization to be accessible … That’s always been my philosophy … I think there’s a feeling that when you’re talking to fans, you’re talking to fans via the press and that’s the way it works.
Hmmm. For the record, this off-season, Lurie hasn’t moved from in front of his ample fireplace at the Main Line manse. But that’s another story.
There isn’t a journalist worth their salt who writes in a vacuum. The information he or she publishes is meant to be passed on to other people, i.e. the reader, the viewer or the listener. And so the perception offered by the Crossing Broads of the world is wrong. Somewhere along the line, the media has become the bad guy. They’re the no-goodniks in the locker room who have never played the sport, who look slimy and greasy, who forage for the free food and free entry into games. Maybe some of them are. But the bottom line is they are bringing information to you; the information you rely on daily to follow your team.
Even Crossing Broad is writing to its readers. Some of its information is original. Most of it is warmed over crap-spins of already existing stories, troublemaking gossip mongering, or published comments from low IQs that have no shot at a Mensa level. But that content is still being produced for the reader. So how can Crossing Broad, or any other blog, endorse information not coming to the Philadelphia Eagle fan because the principals don’t feel the need to talk?
You might not like the press. But have a little respect, you bunch of ingrates.