Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Yes, you read that right

From the "words you never, ever thought you would read in your lifetime" department comes this from Redskins tight end Chris Cooley:

We are very sorry that we showed a penis on our website all day yesterday. That was by no means our intention and we did not want to offend anyone. The picture wouldn't have been up for so long, but we were in the middle of winning a big game. Once again, this was a complete accident and we regret not reviewing the post more closely. Thanks.

I'm not sure which is more interesting: the fact that Cooley put a risque picture of his own anatomy on his own blog site or that he couldn't get around to taking it down because "we were in the middle of a big game." ("Hey, Cooley ... get off the blog and back in the game; it's third and goal!). Predictably, the Redskins didn't care about Cooley's privates floating through cyberspace, but they were upset that his blog also contained sensitive team information.

Blogs have become something of a fad for athletes, who can use them to carefully craft their images and maintain good public relations with the fans. Perhaps most importantly, it allows them to bypass the mainstream media. Players can avoid dealing with reporters and go directly to the general public if they so desire. As a result, reporters now often scour the blog sites for breaking information they used to get directly from players (like pitcher Curt Schilling).

I don't know if this is good or bad for reporting; it certainly puts the players in a more advantageous position, but I don't see it as a major threat to the traditional media. I would think that if this trend continues players will have to learn more about blogging and take it a little more seriously. Going to the extreme, the Redskins say they will now monitor their players' blogs more closely. According to coach Jim Zorn, "It's not just Chris, anybody can do that, and we've just got to make sure that these guys are using common sense." The NFL might argue otherwise, but team information is not a matter of national security, which would suggest that teams would have a hard time censoring material or engaging in prior restraint.

It will be interesting to see that situation develop, but for now Cooley can blog to his heart's content. Let's hope he learned that no matter how well you're performing on the field, getting caught with your pants down in the blogosphere is nothing but bad news.


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