ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills have unveiled a wide-ranging policy restricting media from reporting on who threw an interception during practice or what someone might overhear during a post-practice team huddle.
The policy went into effect Tuesday when reporters began arriving at the Bills facility for the team’s first week of voluntary minicamps.
Under the heading, “Practice Reporting,” the Bills are barring media from mentioning personnel groupings, including which player is practicing with the starters. Other items that cannot be reported during practice include dropped passes, interceptions and a quarterback’s completion percentage.
Reporters are barred from revealing any conversations that take place between players, coaches or team executives during practice. Videos and pictures also cannot be snapped in and around the locker room without team approval.
Team spokesman Scott Berchtold said most of the rules apply to practices closed to the public, not training camp, even though the policy does not spell out a distinction in some cases.
In an email to The Associated Press, Jeff Legwold, President of the Professional Football Writers of America, described theBills’ new rules as “a vast over-reach of the guidelines in the current media policy.” Legwold added that the Bills’ policy is “not only unnecessary, it is not in compliance.”
The PFWA works with the NFL in establishing a league-wide media policy that includes rules on what can be reported during practice, and when teams must make players and coaches available to the media.
The NFL’s media policy states teams can limit the videotaping or photographing of certain portions of closed sessions. As for open practices, the NFL policy states: “Clubs must allow reporting (tweeting, blogging, etc.) of newsworthy events, such as VIP visitors to practice, exceptional catches, standout rookie performers, etc.”