I’m sitting in my kitchen eating my breakfast which due to lent is far less yummy than normal. Today alone I have read several articles belly aching over clubs keeping their talent out of the media and how it’s the fans right to hear from their idols.
(Please cough loudly in a sarcastic tone) What are you on about?You should feel privileged at the access you do get.
Upon moving here from England I was blown away by how intimate the clubs felt. I fell in love with the Rabbitohs when I went to a training session at Redfern. The family and I was chilling at the café there after placing our orders when all of a sudden Adam Reynolds brings over our banana bread then goes about his day. It was very surreal.
This was just days before the round 11 golden point win over St George in 2012. He was a rookie having a great season and he’s serving me breakfast? Do you think Wayne Rooney has ever served a fan with anything other than a restraining order, let alone a pastry?
Back home even the lower league teams, not just the big money EPL squads, train behind closed doors. Players are kept from the spot light and it is very rare they are ever allowed to say anything to a reporter. If you’re a fan it doesn’t matter one little bit. You’re not welcome. Don’t come back. Just pay your forty pounds on match day if you want to glimpse them.
Here each team is more than a club, it’s a community.
Sir Alex Ferguson is arguably one of the world’s greatest coaches of any sport and yet it is very well known that he didn’t speak to the media for years after a spat. Fans watching ‘Match of the Day’ (a highlights show on the BBC) were only ever treated to interviews with the various assistant coaches he had during his tenure. Imagine if Bellamy or Bennett told the media ‘do one’ after a game after harsh treatment the weak before?
Even less successful coaches must want to ignore the media. How many times can Steve Price smile and joke with people calling for his head one minute and pretending to be his mate when it’s time for the press conference? It’s never going to happen here. You should feel blessed.
I love that after an NRL game the coach and captain front the media regardless no excuses. It’s brilliant. Rain or shine victory or loss on. The show must go on. Even if their hands are a tied when they can’t talk about the red hot moments of a game.
As a member I have a host of ways I am kept in the loop by my club.
Open training sessions, member emails, the excellent mobile apps and various in house videos and interviews on the clubs website. There are also fan appreciation days if you want to personally say hi.
Now I would assume (assumption being the mother of all mistakes) that every club has their own practices and news letting processes. So if you are a fan of a club there is no excuse. That club will take care of all your needs and more and with social media you can follow just about any player and be amazed at how boring and normal their life is when not wearing the colours.
So where’s the problem?
Oh that’s right, it’s the tabloids spitting their dummies that clubs don’t help go out of their way to help them sell the rags when every single newspaper will go out of their way to derail a premiership push or unsettle the most loyal player.
Manly for instance only need to worry about Manly fans. Why should they care if the Penrith community hasn’t realised just how old the squad is getting or if on the Gold Coast there are concerns about Brett Stewarts hammy?
As for player access, every player should have the right to privacy. If you are seriously against privacy I’d love to come to your house for a cup of tea and tell the world about what I see inside.
Nope thought not…
That offer also goes the Paul Kent’s and Buzz’s of this world and the next.
I always find it find it funny when Joey Johns runs on to the paddock at the half time whistle clearly hoping to get a first rate interview from a man out of breathe and desperate for water. What do you expect him to say other than “we…. Got to…. Keep… working… hard….” as he regains his oxygen? What ground breaking words of wisdom do they expect? Will he reveal the secret plans for the 2nd half?
Some players enjoy a bit of media. They like the feeling, they like being the face of a club. No one is stopping them and the media can have that guy all they want. Why do they want to talk someone who is camera shy or has a secret stutter? The fact is one day or another the media burns those that it gets to close to.
Sam Burgess, last year’s darling, won’t say two words to the media these days that don’t start with ‘F’ and finish with an ‘off’. I feel and I believe the clubs agree that newspapers don’t promote the game as much as they think they do. Do they provide free advertisements for the weekend games or are they compensated accordingly? Do they wax lyrical about how great a game was? How it’s an experience that you can only get from being there, like the die-hards of cinema that preach of the demons of DVD? Or do they say the atmosphere was crap and it’s too expensive and why bother when every game is on TV?
They do have some value. They can be used to challenge the big wigs of league and its rival codes, something players cannot do without reprimand, so they don’t need a player for that. They make excellent chip wrapping but players shouldn’t be eating fatty foods so they don’t need the players that either. So what are newspapers hoping to get from the players?
In this social media and blogging generation do they just need the exclusives to seem more official? Has the secret been exposed that sports journalism is little more than opinion with creative writing and educated guess work?
I think it’s worth pointing out that of all the TV shows and newspapers that cover NRL they all share the same 6 faces. How many times do you need Sterlo’s opinion or Brad Fittler constantly spouting nonsense like a bullshit volcano?
It’s nothing new that a majority of players want nothing to do with the media. So if the media has the same six faces expect the clubs to have the same six faces too.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com
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