Sports leagues are trying harder and harder to control how they are covered by news organizations--limiting blogging, setting time limits on how much interview footage can be broadcast or posted on web sites, etc. It's hard to believe that any of these requirements would withstand a strong First Amendment challenge, and I hope one is in the works.
But the latest nonsense in this vein really crosses the line. The National Press Photographers Association reports that "The National Football League has passed a new rule for the upcoming season that requires photographers at NFL games to wear red vests with Canon and Reebok logos on them."
Yes, you read that right. It sounds like it comes straight from The Onion or its satiric sports counterpart The Brushback. Are they kidding? What's next--requiring fans to wear matching sponsor logos in order to sit in the stands? It's disturbing enough to read that this practice actually has existed, in limited form, for some time--photogs at some sports events have been required to wear identifying "bibs" with sponsor logos, apparently. Amazing.
There's a very simple solution to this idiocy, and I hope the nation's editors have the balls to do it: Boycott coverage of the NFL until this ridiculous "rule" is lifted. Period. Coverage is oxygen for sports teams--I remember New York Yankee owner George Steinbrenner telling a group of editors, "You put the fannies in the seats." Take it away and see how long it takes the NFL's leadership to come to its senses.