Shame on the Indianapolis Colts. Shame on the NFL. And most of all, shame on the sports writers willing to go along with a bogus press conference.
Today, the Colts are expected to hold a Zoom press conference to officially announce the trade that landed them quarterback Carson Wentz from the Philadelphia Eagles.
Sounds standard and simple until you hear the details that the Colts WON’T take any questions from Philadelphia sports writers.
All sports writers shouldn’t allow the Colts to dictate the terms of the press conference. It goes against all the principles of the free press.
The press conference should be boycotted. If all media members can’t take part and be allowed to do their jobs, none should take part in such a setup.
The NFL should not allow such a charade to take place.
The Pro Football Writers of America should be up in arms.
And the Indianapolis Star, the local newspaper, shouldn’t stand for it.
Today, it’s the Philly writers. Tomorrow, it’s some of the Star’s reporters because the Colts don’t like a story written by a particular sports writer.
It won’t end if you allow the Colts’ ultimate power in steering the press conference.
Now, Wentz has the right not to answer any question tossed his way.
Reporters should have the right to ask any question. And the interviewee has the right to say no comment, give a lame answer or move onto the next question.
But the idea that the organization would bar accredited media members because they want to shield Wentz from talking about his past before moving onto his fresh start is simply terrible.
According to Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Inquirer on Tuesday, the Colts won’t be taking questions from outside media.
“So the Carson Wentz trade is official. I’m told the Colts are doing a Zoom press conference with Wentz on Thursday. BUT they won’t be taking questions from the Philly media,” Bowen tweeted.
Some other media members reacted to the news. “Bruh….either have a press conference or don’t. Not taking questions from your old beat writers is soft as hell. If it’s the team, bad look, and hurts your QB. If it’s Wentz, super bad look, and the team should step in and let them know, maybe don’t do that,” James Koh, an NFL analyst, tweeted.
For many, Wentz is seen as the missing piece for a Colts team that can compete for a Super Bowl. It has a good defense, a running game and good receivers. The only missing part is a good QB.
Hence, this was supposed to be a glorious day for the Colts. Easily, they win the press conference. They put the rest of the NFL on notice and give their fans hope that they have a chance to win it all again.
Instead, the Colts ruin the day by making the story about protecting Wentz from the big, bad media asking a few questions.
It’s comical. It’s sad.
But this isn’t new.
In 2013, MLB suspended Tigers’ shortstop Jhonny Peralta for 50 games for PED use. When the news came down, Detroit media members were told that manager Jim Leyland would not take questions about Peralta’s situation.
The press was warned that the press conference would come to an immediate halt if they asked about the suspension.
It didn’t stop 97.1 The Ticket radio reporter Jeff Riger. He went away from the edict and did his job, asking about the biggest story of the day. Leyland walked away. He had that right, but Riger also had the right two do his job as well.
There’s a famous story about Larry Holmes wanting to kick out legendary New York Post sports columnist Dick Young from his workout in Vegas. Holmes didn’t like a column Young had written.
When Holmes informed his goons to escort Young out of the gym, all of the boxing writers followed Young out. Holmes told them that they didn’t have to leave, just Young.
The writers, all from competing newspapers, said if Young couldn’t stay none of them would. Holmes caved and all were allowed to stay and report.
That’s how it should be done. The people we cover don’t get to pick the people who cover them. And if sports writers take part in this Colts’ sham presser today, it will be a disgrace.