The Buffalo Bills are idiots. That we can all agree on.
The team's much publicized new media policy is dumb and stupid and shortsighted. No organization - not even a sports team - should be in the business of telling independent journalists what they can and can't publish. If reporters are allowed at practice, they should be allowed to report what they see. That's the while point of sports journalism.
But there's an interesting conversation to be had here, one that goes beyond the policy.
Should the media be covering OTAs like this in the first place?
Let's be real for a second here: Is it really newsworthy who drops a pass during an OTA? Is it newsworthy that a quarterback threw a pass into double coverage, or overthrew three receivers in a practice session?
For every one newsworthy element that comes from this reporting - for the Bills, that was EJ Manuel's throw into the hospitality tent in last year's training camp - there are a thousand forgettable details that don't really tell readers and fans anything.
I get the argument for it. It's popular content. Fans have an insatiable desire for any information about their favorite teams, particularly in the NFL, and particularly in Buffalo. It gets clicks, it gets shares, it gets retweets. More and more, metrics are driving news judgment. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. This is a business, and the business model right now is built around clicks, shares and eyeballs. It's hard not to cover OTAs like this. As soon as one outlet does, the rest are under pressure to follow.
But the aspirational part of me wonders if there are different, better ways to cover the team during OTAs. It's more important for journalists to pull back, to show fans the whole board of the team, rather than the minutiae of day-to-day practices. It also focuses resources solely on what's popular at the expense of other stories that could be told. Our job as journalists shouldn't be to only give people what's popular or what they want.
The Bills shouldn't be in the business of telling reporters what they should and shouldn't report during OTAs.
But maybe reporters and editors start talking about whether these OTAs are worth covering like they are.