At this point in the labor negotiations, both players and owners are constantly vying for a more positive public image than their counterpart. That is why the decision made by Panthers players to hire a police officer to keep reporters out of their unofficial team workouts makes many of us scratch our heads.
I find their actions puzzling in two ways: one being that the locked-out players have no reason to be anti-media, and the other being that at this stage in the offseason the practices are most likely not showcasing much of the playbook at all. Heck, it was only the Panthers' very first day of their unofficial minicamp.
However, the real kicker in all of this is the lengthy response article written by Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports. Silver, like many other members of the media, is understandly a little peeved. The article, however, completely bashes the players for not allowing reporters access to team workouts, all the while reminding readers of how poorly the Panthers played in 2010 (I'll admit, I do get a certain satisfaction from seeing the phrase "Carolina Panthers, 2-14"). Do I sense some indignation?
But, maybe the Panthers just aren't about that. I can just imagine Jerry Richardson shouting at reporters now: we don't need any of this fluffy, "positive light" garbage on our team, not when I'm turning losses! No media! In this fantasy, Richardson then goes on to kick several sick puppies whilst stealing from orphans. I kid, I kid.
Media outrage and jokes aside, the article does make a very valid point. While the Panthers, along with the Colts and Dolphins, are keeping the media out, teams like the Falcons and the Saints are welcoming reporters with open arms. The Panthers players are certainly failing to use the media to their advantage, and even if they weren't there really is no solid reason to keep reporters away.
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