The NFL keeps giving us ‘all-access’ content that lacks access

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I’m old enough to remember when “behind-the-scenes’’ actually meant what it claims, as the access that was being granted was a novelty. But, in the case of the NFL, “all-access” too often feels like limited entry.

Was the Travis Kelce Super Bowl audio buried?

Was the Travis Kelce Super Bowl audio buried?

A recent report from the New York Post details how the audio of what Travis Kelce said to Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid after he bumped him during the Super Bowl may have been allegedly buried by the NFL.

Which NFL Bros reign supreme? Watt or Kelce?

Check this out from the article:

“Two people highly plugged into the sports media business told The Post they suspect the Chiefs blocked NFL Films — which captures the mic’d up audio — and “Inside the NFL” from airing the direct Kelce sound bite, with one saying he thought that this edict came from Reid.

A rep for “Inside the NFL” declined to comment, and reps for the Chiefs and NFL Media (which operates NFL Films) did not respond to requests for comment by The Post.

A lip reader told The Post that he believed Kelce said, “Hey, come on, you f–ker, put me on.”

Mind you, Kelce has already admitted that he knew this would eventually come up.

“Oh, you guys saw that? Man, it was . . . I’m going to keep that between us unless my mic’d-up tells the world, but I was just telling him how much I love him,” Kelce said after the game in which he berated his coach and almost knocked him over.

In the days since the game, Kelce has owned his mistake.

“Big Red, sorry if I caught you with that cheap shot, baby,” he said on his podcast. “I can’t get to the point where I’m that fired up that I’m bumping coach and it’s getting him off balance and stuff. When he stumbled, I was like ‘Oh (expletive)’ in my head,” he explained.

At this point, it feels like if the audio is ever leaked it’ll be due to TMZ, as the gossip outlet has a history of doing stuff like this — remember the Draymond Green-Jordan Poole incident? But, the bigger point here isn’t just about us not getting the Kelce audio, it’s about this situation being the latest trend of the NFL being extremely guarded.

Days before Kelce’s situation took place on the field, the league restricted access to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for his annual press conference at the Super Bowl. In a cowardly decision, the league moved the event to Monday — when press attendance is at its lowest — and made it invite-only.

It was proof of the Jim Trotter effect.

Last year, NFL Media didn’t renew Trotter’s contract after he grilled Goodell about the league’s lackluster diversity efforts at consecutive Super Bowl press conferences. And although Trotter wasn’t there, the league still sucks at diversity, despite the recent hiring of three Black head coaches.

In the end, Goodell still got grilled.

“As of this press conference, the NFL Media newsroom still employs zero Black managers, zero Black copy editors, zero full-time Black employees on the news desk, and your only full-time Black employee, Larry Campbell, passed away over the weekend,” Darren Smith of KLKC Radio told Goodell at the event. “How does knowing this sit well with you, and after two years of being asked this question, why has there not been any change or any hirings in that area?”

Instead of taking the heat like he’s paid to do, the league narrowed access to a large majority of the press in a failed attempt to shield Goodell. That thinking is why HBO’s Hard Knocks has fallen off a cliff, as the “all-access” docuseries has rarely given fans the inside scoop on things we thought we’d see, or witnessed in its early seasons. Last year, the New York Jets were featured on the show. But, before the first episode aired there were reports that the franchise wasn’t going to allow the camera crews to have free reign.

“They forced it down our throats and we have to deal with it,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers told KPIX.

From sideline sound bites to footage of players in team facilities to limiting who can and can’t ask Roger Goodell questions, the last few months have been a case study on how the country’s most popular and profitable sports league incubates itself. On the one hand, it makes perfect business sense. But, on the other hand, it feels like false advertising. So when it comes to the NFL let’s stop calling it “all-access” and refer to it as what it really is — a PR spin.

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