Thursday, August 20, 2009

Throw out ESPN!

This has got to be my favorite piece of news so far from the NFL preseason. Did you catch this? John Harbaugh threw ESPN out of Ravens practice! The story is:

As reported by Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital, ESPN The Magazine crew was casually stretching out on the ground behind the end zone, lounging under an umbrella as if they were enjoying a wonderful day at the beach. Delivering a few choice expletives, Harbaugh had them thrown out of practice by a public relations official under his year-old policy that no one sits down or lays down at practice.
"When you come to Baltimore, you learn the rules," Harbaugh yelled. "This isn't a country club. Get them out of here."
Later, Harbaugh reinforced his stance during an interview with local reporters.
"Nobody lays down at Ravens practice or sits," he said. "That was disrespectful to you guys."
I heard that last quote on the radio, it was from his post-practice press conference. Asked about throwing out ESPN, he gave that nobody-lays-down line, then added "I thought that was disrespectful to you guys" – meaning the reporters who have been at practice every day and have been observing the rules. Harbaugh likes guys who come to work every day.

He has a funny way of turning things around on a questioner; perhaps 'funny' is the wrong word, it's very coach-like. The "disrespectful to you guys" comment reminds me of something he said in a press conference last year. I forget exactly what the question was, but his response went [something like] "Well, that's part of what makes the NFL so great. It's a privilege to coach in the NFL, I know our players feel like it's a privilege to play in the NFL, and I imagine for you guys it's a privilege to cover the NFL." You could almost feel the reports shuffle and murmur in the room; I wonder how often they think of it that way.
(No link, sorry.)

The Baltimore Sun has the same story:
Harbaugh wasn't as pleased with two members of ESPN the Magazine, who watched practice while lying down in one end zone. Harbaugh finally barked at the two and had them removed.
Chris Mortensen has almost the same story; I was wondering how the 4-letter itself would cover it:
John Harbaugh blistered some freelance photographers for breaking a rule Sunday. If you observe the Baltimore Ravens on the practice field, you don't sit, you stand. Soon, they were escorted from the field.
For the players, there is no standing around. A few moments after giving the heave-ho to the photographers, Harbaugh directed his fire at his offense...
Ah. They were not a crew from ESPN The Magazine. They were freelancers. Sure, ESPN.

Anyway, that's beautiful. Throw the bums out! Let's have ESPN thrown out everywhere.

1 comment:

  1. Two thoughts here:

    * I love seeing Mort called out. He's one of the biggest jokes out there in sports journalism when it comes to attributing credit for breaks and stories. So it doesn't shock me a bit to see ESPN and Mort cover it like this.

    * That said, this has to be about the dumbest thing I've ever seen a coach whine about. He makes reporters stand while they cover his team? What the hell for? Because he wants to control how they do their job while they're in his holy presence? Seems ridiculous to me.

    I hope that going forward, all Ravens who appear on sports journalism shows aren't offered a chair to sit in for the show.


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