Seattle Seahawks: Richard Sherman and the Future of Sports Coverage

Feb 5, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman is interviewed on radio row at Moscone Center in advance of Super Bowl 50. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 5, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman is interviewed on radio row at Moscone Center in advance of Super Bowl 50. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports /

Is Richard Sherman picking when and who he wants to speak to a sign of what’s to come for the media covering the Seattle Seahawks and the NFL as a whole?

Whilst appreciating even the best jobs in the world can have their bad days, the amount of journalists who complain about the food options in press boxes, having to fly to various cities, etc, can be very frustrating. At the end of the day, we’re getting paid to cover sports, while being fed for free and often getting to fly around the country!

Further, there are sometimes occasions when I find myself siding with the athletes as opposed to fellow journalists. In this respect, the biggest gripe probably centers on the back-and-forth between the players and the media.

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Members of the media continually moan about how players can be boring and don’t say anything interesting. And yet, maybe they should consider it’s often a calculated move on the part of the players, knowing full well that if they do say anything remotely interesting, it will automatically become headline material.

In addition, if the media want the players to come up with more interesting answers, why not ask better questions? Do they really think regurgitating the same spiel again and again is the best way to get a more enlightened response?

With all that said, the way some of the Seahawks’ players have dealt with the press this season has been less than professional. Richard Sherman has been the main culprit, and if he’s not careful, he’s going to find the national perspective on him resonate on a more local level.

Similarly, Michael Bennett‘s tirade towards Q13 reporter Bill Wixey following the defeat to the Falcons, was just not acceptable. However, what is most concerning about all of this, is how it potentially relates to the future.

North American sports journalists don’t always appreciate how much access they get to the players – and why should they? Regardless, the fact we are allowed to go into locker rooms so soon after games finish is on some levels insane and not something that should be taken for granted.

However, you have to wonder if the professional sports organizations in North America will soon look to take some of this access away and become more like other leagues around the world? Now of course, a lot of people may say this won’t happen, as there would be a major backlash from the media outlets.

Here’s the problem though – the NFL and the other sports leagues want to have more control over the message that gets put out to the public. In other words, they want it to be more positive.

Seattle Seahawks
Jan 27, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman waves to members of the press during media day for Super Bowl XLIX at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

And what better way to do this than restrict how much access the mainstream media has to the players? Consider that a lot of the teams are creating increasingly sophisticated in-house media departments.

As this continues to improve, it could get to a point where fan bases won’t care where their information comes from, as long as they believe they’re getting increased access. And who better to provide more behind the scenes coverage of the players than the teams themselves?

Of course, this doesn’t change the fact a lot of fans like to read coverage from outlets not directly connected to their team or teams. Sometimes you want the cold, harsh truth, rather than someone attempting to gloss over any issues and paint an unrealistic, positive picture.

However, if the NFL — and other leagues — have the patience to make this a gradual enough process, it could slowly happen without sports fans realizing. Eventually, you could theoretically end up with the leagues having complete control over what news is reported, or more to the point, how it is presented.

Heck, a lot of people will argue this is already happening. ESPN has been criticized several times for how they’ve reported certain controversial issues concerning the NFL, conceivably concerned about losing their rights to broadcast games if they themselves don’t play the game.

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No doubt there will be accusations of wearing a tin foil hat, but there does seem to be elements at play which indicate the process to restrict the mainstream media’s access and what they report has already begun. Let’s just say when Sherman threatened to get Jim Moore’s press privileges removed, it would be no surprise to hear of similar threats in the future, whether it be from other professional athletes or the teams they play for.

Overall, I genuinely hope I am wrong with my fears about the direction coverage and access is headed for journalists in the industry. Ultimately though, the sports media landscape is changing, and not necessarily for the better.

Next: Same Ol' Song in Loss to Falcons

What’s you take on the current state of the relationship between the Seattle sports media and the Seahawks? Do you think this will blow over, or be an ongoing issue? Further, what are your thoughts on the future of professional sports and how they are covered? Share your thoughts in the comments section.