Updated 9/13 @ 1:52 p.m. ET: And this is exactly what happens when you limit/ban media members for doing what they feel is their job.
Not only has Los Angeles Daily reporter Scott Wolf been allowed back to practice following a brief ban for reporting an injury, Trojans coach Lane Kiffin is now working with reporters on how to best report injuries going forward.
“I know it is not exactly the best thing for you, but we are trying to protect our team too.”
He also apologized to Wolf.
“What Scott was trying to get done wasn’t against what we were trying to say. Scott’s back. I apologize if that was taken the wrong way. We viewed it differently. We are trying to get together to come up with the best situation for all of us.”
Again, it’s understandable that Kiffin doesn’t want to release injury news because he feels it would be a competitive disadvantage. He’s not the only coach to have done it, either. But when you ban someone for doing what they think is their job, there’s going to be a media backlash and it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of that reporter on a personal basis. It’s like Nick Saban‘s rant last week. Throw a jab at the media and they’ll throw one back.
Self-righteous? Yeah, there’s a lot of that on both sides, but that’s the nature of the business. Now, Kiffin’s in a position where he has to play nice.
If coaches release mandated weekly injury reports, then there’s not an issue whatsoever.
USC and coach Lane Kiffin made headlines (again) Wednesday for the wrong reasons (again).
According to the Los Angeles Times, USC imposed a two-week ban on Los Angeles Daily reporter Scott Wolf because Wolf published a report that Trojans kicker Andre Heidari underwent knee surgery last week and was expected to be sidelined for about three weeks. Additionally, according to the Times, the school decided it would not issue Wolf a credential for the Trojans’ Sept. 22 home game against Cal.
The problem, per a fairly new USC policy, is that reporters aren’t allowed to publish “strategy or injury-related news observed during in-season practices.” That led to another problem: Wolf apparently wasn’t reporting what he saw during practice.
“From our standpoint, Scott was doing his job,” Daily sports editor Gene Warnick told the Times. “This wasn’t something that was part of practice. We were just trying to report the news.”
It was bad press, but it was also short-lived. As of Wednesday night the ban was lifted after a discussion was had with USC athletic director Pat Haden. Policy or not, there is such a thing as bad publicity when it involves banning media interaction.
“I am happy to say my football practice ban was lifted after talks with Pat Haden and area sports editors. Practice policy talks continue,” Wolf tweeted Wednesday night.
It’s understandable if coaches don’t want to share injury information for competitive disadvantage purposes. Two other Pac-12 coach, Utah’s Kyle Whittingham and Washington’s Steve Sarkisian, have taken similar approaches. But Wolf has a beat to cover and fans/readers want pertinent information. You know, like injuries and stuff.
But we’re not here to take sides on this issue. If every program was required to release weekly injury reports, this wouldn’t have been a topic of discussion.