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The NFL will officially allow media members back into locker rooms for the 2022 season.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy made the announcement Tuesday at the ownership meetings in Palm Beach, Florida, per NFL Network’s Steve Wyche.
The decision comes nearly a month after the NFL and NFLPA reached an agreement to lift all COVID-19 protocols, which had been in place since the 2020 season. Since that time, reporters have been barred from entering the locker rooms.
But with reporters’ access now returning, that could effectively end the Zoom interview era that has been prevalent over the last two years. Reporters across all sports have been clamoring for a return, as the access allows for better coverage and an opportunity to gather more information.
While the NFL appears to be leading the way in returning to normal operations in sports, other leagues are being more cautious. Speaking at the NBA’s All-Star weekend in Cleveland last month, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said that “it’s not going to be easy” in determining if reporters will be allowed back into locker rooms in the future.
“I also think it’s a bit of an anachronism to have reporters in the actual room where players are dressing. … To me, there are two issues: There’s just the health and safety issues for the players and for all of you as well,” Silver said, via Poynter. “Then there’s also — I’m not sure if we were designing a system from scratch today, we would say come stand next to the players at their lockers as they’re dressing, and that’s the appropriate forum to interview them.”
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