Highly-touted Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III gave his first press conference. Local TV covered it live. Regional and national sports media outlets covered it live. WTEM-AM covered it live. But WJFK-FM was there, but was NOT allowed to cover the event.
The reason appears perfectly obvious to those in Washington: WTEM is the flagship station of Red Zebra, which is owned by Redskins owner Dan Snyder.
WJFK is a CBS Radio station.
The Washington Post looked into the situation (noting that one of its columnists, Mike Wise, also has a show on WJFK). Checking with other NFL franchises, it found that in most cases, the team would have treated such an event as news and would have opened it up to all bona fide journalism organizations.
A spokesperson for the Redskins said the team was merely protecting its radio rights-holder and said its action was covered under league policy.
The WaPo article questioned the team’s action. It wondered why the team would take what should have been a 100% positive occasion and inject this sour note into it; why it would deliberately disrespect all of its fans who are loyal listeners of WJFK and deny them access to the event; and why it would add yet another chapter to its history of problems with local media.
RBR-TVBR observation: It used to be fun to follow the Redskins, but I have to say that team owner Dan Snyder has pretty much sucked the joy right out of it. It’s not enough that the results of his personnel decisions over the years both on the field and in the front office speak for themselves. It’s also that his actions are just an embarrassment. He’s like a spoiled rich kid who got the team as a birthday present and has abused it ever since.
Here we have yet another incident of misplaced competitiveness. The whole world is allowed to cover this event but one lonely rival radio station? How petty can one get?
This story follows right in line with many others, like Snyder’s recent bullying lawsuit against a small alternative newspaper in Washington.
1991 was a really great year to be a Redskins fan. There haven’t really been any since, and this sort of thing is one of the reasons.