The NFL’s decision to dump all COVID-19 protocols left out one particular item, perhaps on purpose.
That would be no other than a return to normal media access.
As relayed by OutKick’s Armando Selguero, the NFL and players union reached agreement to lift all COVID protocols, which have been in place since March 2020. Part of the decision back then was to keep the media out of the locker room.
Now, it could mean reporters once again get locker room access, interviewing players in old-fashioned settings. Basically, that means while players are getting dressed after games.
“Media protocols are not specifically addressed in this memo, but this clears the way for locker rooms to reopen to reporters in 2022,” wrote The Athletic’s Lindsey Jones. “The league and teams are preparing for that access to return.”
For the uninitiated, reporters who cover all sports have been pining for a return to locker rooms, insisting that such access gives them a better opportunity to sidle up to athletes for one-on-one conversations, and presumably, more “insider” information and scoops.
Most of those in the mainstream media will tell you that “building relationships” with players, coaches and others in the locker room is a vital part of their job. Regardless of whether you care about that, it’s something that can’t be accomplished with a bunch of your peers on a Zoom call.
The media? In the locker room again? For sports reporters everywhere, it sounds too good to be true. But for those who cover the NFL, it could soon be reality.