Washington Redskins Won't Let Washington Post Blogger Show Photos Of Upset Fans; WaPo Caves

from the journalistic-integrity dept

We've already discussed how ridiculous it is that any mainstream publication agrees to the NFL's policies that effectively set rules for how they can report on sporting events. How can a publication claim to have journalistic integrity after agreeing to specific rules on what they will and won't report on concerning a news event? On top of that, we've pointed out how ridiculous one particular football team, the Washington Redskins, has become in dealing with fans. Despite having the longest record of continuous sellouts in professional sports, the Redskins have been suing over 100 fans who were unable to pay for their season tickets. The Redskins could have easily just resold the tickets (and, in fact, they are reselling the tickets). But also suing some of the team's biggest fans after they've been hit by the financial crisis? That's just obnoxious.

Lots of fans are pissed off at the Redskins this season, and a local radio station came up with a plan to get fans to wear paper bags over their heads during a recent game -- even going out and handing out a bunch of bags outside the stadium for just that purpose. Of course, gametime came and security confiscated most of the bags, saying that such bags are not allowed in the stadium. Still, Dan Steinberg, who writes the DC Sports Blog for the Washington Post, went around looking for such disgruntled fans. And while he didn't find many with paper bags, he did find other disgruntled fans displaying their... disgruntlement. These included t-shirts that were anti-Dan Snyder (owner of the team) along with some other things. Steinberg took photos of these protesters and posted them to his blog.

But not for long.

The photos soon disappeared, and the photo editor for the Washington Post admitted that the Redskins had called them claiming that taking photos of disgruntled fans was a violation of policy:
"The Redskins said he was in violation of his credentials for taking the photographs. We honored that request, because at the end of the day, they control access to their facility."
First off all, how ridiculous is it that the Redskins are so insanely controlling that it thinks that banning photos of disgruntled fans will suddenly make people not realize that fans are disgruntled?

But, more importantly, what a shame that the Washington Post would simply fold like that. Yes, the Redskins control access to the facilities, but the Washington Post is effectively providing free advertising for the Redskins pretty much every day, by writing articles about them. The Redskins don't want to lose coverage from the Post. If the Washington Post had any journalistic integrity, why wouldn't it stand up to the Redskins and say "hey, disgruntled fans are news, and we're here to report the news." And people wonder why folks don't trust the coverage in their local newspapers any more. Apparently, those newspapers -- even the big "respected" names -- have no problem caving in to ridiculous requests from those they cover.

Meanwhile, The Big Lead (which gets a few of the details of the story mixed up) wonders what would happen if other people took such photos and sent them to the Washington Post to put on its blog, since the Redskins' main complaint is that Steinberg violated his credentials by taking the photos. If others took the photos though...
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: journalism, photos, sports
Companies: washington redskins

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    Marcel de Jong (profile), 12 Oct 2009 @ 4:06am

    Two things

    One: Next up: EULAs on ticket sales forbidding taking photographs before/during/after the game inside the facility or the direct surroundings.

    Two: The newspapers are wondering why they are losing the battle... Well, Washington Post, THIS is why you are losing the battle. By caving in to the Redskins, by not reporting the news, but wanting to pander to the big league businesses/sports-groups. They are not your boss, your READERS are your bosses. Start pandering to them, and give them a reason to buy your newspaper. You have an obligation to your readers not your subjects.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Essential Reading
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.