Washington's Football Team Opposes Twitter, Blogging, and Reporting in General

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Sept. 16 2010 2:21 PM

Washington's Football Team Opposes Twitter, Blogging, and Reporting in General

On TBD, Erik Wemple (disclosure: my ex-boss) reports that Washington's NFL team is trying to bar reporters from using rapidly publishing forms of media while they are at the team's practices:

In a series of meetings with team beat reporters, the Redskins are now working on a brand-new set of guidelines that would ban tweeting and blogging straight from the practice field. "Media are prohibited from blogging or tweeting during practice," says rule No. 4 of the guidelines. (Emphasis in original document; no editorial bolding here.)
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Elsewhere, the rules say that reporters " are prohibited from reporting anything that takes place at practice while practice is ongoing" and that they are likewise prohibited from reporting any observations "that pertain to Club strategy"—including which players are practicing, which units players practice with, what the players do, what the coaches say to the players, and more or less every other conceivable piece of information that a reporter would obtain by attending practice.

NFL teams are all paranoid about letting any information escape that could provide opponents with a tactical advantage. And the Washington team has particularly control-obsessed people as its owner and top football executive.

But given the overall information blackout, what possible point could the Twitter ban have? Reporters would already be barred from describing everything they could see at practice. At least with access to Twitter and blogging, they'd be able to do productive work on other stuff while they sat around not reporting.

Tom Scocca is the managing editor of Deadspin and the author of Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future.