NFL/ESPN Agree Not To Tweet Draft Picks Early, Because Apparently No Other Sports Journalists Exist

from the mega-fail dept

Professional sports leagues in general tend to have some degree of desire in controlling information. Some attempts at control are more sensible than others, however. For instance, taking down streams of the Super Bowl? I get it. It’s still stupid, and I don’t agree with their logic, but I understand the basis for their logic. Forcing any non-broadcast partners and advertisers to euphamize the biggest spectacle in sports? Well that’s just dumb. There’s no logic behind that at all. So you see, there’s something of a degree or scale to which these control attempts fall.

Well, there was anyway, until the NFL broke the scale with a move so myopic and full of fail that it’s difficult to imagine it was made by anyone other than a collection of rocks with a history of rock-head trauma. I’m talking about the NFL clamping down for this year’s NFL draft on journalists tweeting out the draft picks before they are announced by Commissioner Roger Goodell on stage. For the majority of you who probably didn’t watch the first round of the draft on Thursday, the NFL went as far as to purposefully not show live footage they had of draftees talking on the phone with the team picking them, so as not to tip anyone off that they’d been drafted. Even more fun, the on-screen talent went out of their way to remind you over and over and over again that they were withholding information so that you wouldn’t know until the moment they wanted you to know. The gentlemen’s agreement the NFL has with ESPN, and obviously their edict to NFL Network reporters, meant you also wouldn’t find out any tipped draft information on Twitter.

That is, of course, unless you follow any sports journalist not affiliated with those two entities. What the NFL seems to have forgotten is that the NFL Network and ESPN aren’t the only people reporting on the draft and that their desires are meaningless to reporters over which they have no leverage. One example of such a reporter, and in my opinion he’s one of the best follows for NFL news, is CBS’s Jason La Canfora. He wasn’t having anything to do with the lockdown.

He intends to tweet as much as possible. Beware: that includes upcoming picks before they are revealed on TV (if he gets them) to his nearly 300,000 followers. He also will be contributing updates to

“We’re not a broadcast partner for the draft,” La Canfora said. “I will be trying to get the information out as quickly and accurately as possible. What event is made more for Twitter than the NFL draft? If the teams have the information; if the guys in the production truck have the information; if the commissioner has the information; why wouldn’t passionate football fans want it as well?”

In round 1 of the draft, La Canfora did exactly as he promised. If you were watching the NFL draft to find out who picked who, you got that information somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes later than La Canfora’s 300k followers. No, that time difference isn’t a big deal. No, I’m not saying the NFL can’t run their business however they choose. But if you’re going to force certain broadcasters to lock up information that is available elsewhere, and brag about it no less, all you’re telling me is that the place I should be going to for NFL news isn’t the NFL or ESPN.

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Companies: espn, nfl

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Comments on “NFL/ESPN Agree Not To Tweet Draft Picks Early, Because Apparently No Other Sports Journalists Exist”

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Ninja (profile) says:

Well, there was anyway, until the NFL broke the scale with a move so myopic and full of fail that it’s difficult to imagine it was made by anyone other than a collection of rocks with a history of rock-head trauma.

Or football players after years of… Playing.

Now much more hilarious would be NFL suing and/or banning this specific reporter from the events. And Ms Streisand kicking in.

No really Mike, this can get waaaay more stupid. We haven’t seen the limit of the scale yet 😉

Anonymous Coward says:

I understand the disagreement, but part of the reason was to make the telecast more interesting. There’s actually a form of demand for not showing the guy answering his phone before the pick was read or announcing the pick on TV before it was officially announced. The people I know who watch the draft were elated at this decision.

With that being said, I don’t understand the twitter ban. If you’re on Twitter following reporters, chances are you don’t care about the excitement and want instantaneous information. Which you will get from someone. So that doesn’t make much sense.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

All they did was change the method of displaying who the draft pick is. Personally I liked seeing the players on the phone with big smiles on their faces.

Why should I have to watch/listen to one of the most hated NFL commissioners of all time when I can watch the new players? The draft is supposed to be about the players anyway, not Goodell…

All I know is I found the internet to be about 3-5 minutes ahead of the TV broadcast of a live event… and I didn’t have to listen to adds every 5-10 minutes!

Anonymous Coward says:

This may come as a shock to the NFL and ESPN but I honestly don’t give hoot about it. It’s not going to effect my life one way or the other. Used to be I watched football on tv. But this along with the rest of the bone-headed industry cured me of that. Don’t own a tv any more and don’t want one.

Now if I really cared about football, these idiotic ideas that blackouts should occur locally would be easy to get around. There are tons of sites I understand it on the internet where you can find such broadcasts, not blocked by the idea that enough tickets haven’t been sold to the yokels. I don’t even care enough to do that.

It used to irk me to no end about these blackouts. Know what? I got over it and the result is not an interested individual but rather a no-sale and no interest person you will never have to worry about getting money from to support the expensive habits of that industry.

As much as anything I have the blackouts to thank for that along with the endless and senseless commercial.

Anonymous Coward says:

This is going to come off as bad…but really there is a whole reason behind all this. Even if teams in the NFL pick a guy…the contract is only finalized the moment the athlete starts training…until then he’s sort of a free agent. My guess is that they are keeping it secret so that speculation can’t happen so it can be more accurately and responsibly reported as to whom went where.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

While this is true, there are very strict rules which make drafted players only available to teams that draft them for a couple of years. This significantly hurts the athlete if they do no sign with the team.

The audience is probably unaware of this fact as there are very seldomly any players unsigned and allowed to go back into the draft later. Sorry, but tape delaying notifications 5-15 minutes isn’t a result of this at all.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Or to possibly give teams in the lower tiers as much chance as the upper. A lot of buzz and speculation has a tendency to switch a guy’s mind about which team he is playing for. Speculation also quite often unfairly raises the upper tier’s market cap and as the Cleveland Browns have learned on numerous occasion, unfairly ranks certain draftee’s above others causing conflated buzz and overpricing given certain skill sets.

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