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A little media hiccup from the U.S. Soccer players

Jun 19, 2013, 6:47 PM EDT


SALT LAKE CITY – Most of the United States players were still hunkered down in the Rio Tinto locker room more than an hour after Tuesday’s match, leaving groups of reporters, bloggers and TV crews to wait and worry over deadlines. Reason: The players were watching the Spurs-Heat game as it went into overtime.

Generally speaking, access around the U.S team is adequate and obliging players do their part for media – so no reason to make too big a stink about this one. BUT…

Let’s hope all that access and media accord stays in balance and that recent signs of slippage in the players’ publicity and communications responsibilities are more hiccup than trend. Jozy Altidore has (mostly) stopped talking to media – although he has traditionally been so accommodating with media that it’s hard to ding the young striker for a month of saying no.

Same for Geoff Cameron, also politely rejecting requests lately. These are always individual choices, and temporary, self-imposed media exile is never a problem for me personally. (So long as it’s temporary and players don’t decide to permanently defer media responsibility to their teammates – something I typically equate to this: someone who always enjoy eating but never offers to do the dishes.)

Last night’s choice to stick with a basketball game rather than perform routine media chores – and make no mistake, it’s part of the job for a bunch of soccer players who still have a stake in growing the game here – was atypically unprofessional from this group.

I know it sounds like sour grapes from (a fairly privileged) chattering class here, but I always say this: if people aren’t around to write about it, broadcast it and generally contribute oodles of free advertising for it, then these guys are just playing Sunday afternoon soccer with the rest of us, and certainly not earning bank for it.

Content producers have jobs. And deadlines. And thankfully, U.S. Soccer supporters thrilled about yet another step toward Brazil 2014 want to read about it and hear the players talk about is. So, leaving it all to wait while watching a basketball game? Hmmm.

Consider this, perhaps, not even a yellow card – but let’s do see it as the referee calling a player over and telling him to “knock it off, already.”

  1. dfstell - Jun 19, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    I see your point. Clearly the players have created an unspoken understanding with the media that they come out and speak after the game. Not calling the media dogs, but it’s kinda like how all my dogs come running to the table after dinner because I have a created an expectation that they will get some scraps.

    I can see why they might have wanted to stick with the game and it did go long, but you’d think one of those guys would think, “Geez…..I bet those reporters are cooling their heels out there.”

  2. midtec2005 - Jun 19, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    You should have been watching the game too, it’s a big game.

    This does sound like sour grapes, a lot. If it becomes a trend then you should complain, but blasting them in a article after one incident with a perfectly understandable reason is ridiculous. Plus, it’s only an hour. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve waited on people for 4 or 5 hours in my job.

    • ydj1120 - Jun 20, 2013 at 11:14 AM

      Agreed. Reporters were put out for an hour. No story here.

  3. tarotsujimoto74 - Jun 20, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    Not sure any of us care about your issues with getting quotes. Player interviews are generally throw always anyways, they aren’t going to provide much insight.

  4. footballer4ever - Jun 20, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    With all due respect to the “sour grapes” theorists, as a professional footballer or National team footballer you have a duty to your own sport first. anything else becomes secondary. The media coverage is an important part to the sport’s growth; Therefore, show respect and be professional to your media peers. Let’s not forget that it was not long ago where the US football national team meant nothing to a lot of people. How will the US team players feel if that same media had double duty to cover both games and decided to snub the US national team for the NBA finals instead? I am sure that the footballers would not feel appreciated after all the work and sacrifices they put through to try to get a piece of the congested sports limelight landscape.

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