Is Cleveland Media Too Soft?

There is no question that the relationship between professional sports teams and the media has changed.

Older writers talk about how former Browns’ coach Blanton Collier would sit down with them and explain the Xs and Os to the scribes who covered the team.

Can’t imagine Pat Shurmur doing that this week.

With the proliferation of cable television and 24 hours per day radio sports talk, management of sports teams have become very sensitive toward the folks who cover the game.

This is particularly true in football because there is a week between games to second, third, and fourth guess the coaching staff.

However, those coaches are also making a lot of money to put up with this “aggravation”.

Some cities are known for tough reporters who ask difficult questions.  Most of those towns are located on the east coast.

Cleveland media people seem to have a good relationship with the Indians, Browns, and Cavaliers.  The question is, should they?

If reporters are indeed finding out information for readers/viewers, in other words, the fans, are they doing their job?

Several circumstances recently beg for a tough question to be asked, especially when the front offices are trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the people who buy tickets.

With the Indians, it doesn’t seem that anyone ever asks why the team has had nine losing seasons in 11 years.

For example in yesterday’s Plain Dealer, Paul Hoynes answered a reader’s question on why the Indians did not call up OF Tim Fedroff by saying the Tribe wanted to give some at bats to Thomas Neal, who was also just called up from the minors.

Neal has 10 at bats right now, fewer than several veterans who will not be with the Indians after this season ends.

So, either the front office is full of crap, or someone else isn’t following through on the plan.

Many times the Indians management justify their moves with ridiculous arguments, but no one seems to question them, or at least it isn’t reported.

It is understandable that the beat writer doesn’t ask those questions, but that doesn’t get them off the hook.  Are the guys coaching and managing in Cleveland so far above reproach that they can’t be quizzed?

The Browns and Indians each have a distinct style in dealing with the media.

The football team acts like it’s a chore to have to explain themselves, and Shurmur acts like a guy about to get an enema at a press conference.

Why?  If you are secure in your convictions, then why not take the time to educate everyone on what is going on with the Browns.

The Indians are very open and friendly, but take the politician approach, answering questions with corporate phrasing and canning responses, never really answering what was asked.

The point is this:  Reporters are allowed to ask tough questions, that’s their job.  Players and management should answer tough questions, it’s their responsibility.

What has happened in recent years is that the participants have decided they don’t want to be bothered to answer to the public and so they growl at the media for asking.

It’s one thing if the question is personal or inflammatory.  Those questions have no place in press conferences.  However, inquiries about the game or strategy need to be answered.

Now, Cleveland just needs someone to ask them.  When they aren’t answered, the respondent just looks foolish for avoiding the issue.

MW

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