NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell today received letters from the American Society of Newspaper Editors and the Associated Press Managing Editors protesting the league's decision to force photographers to wear vests with the logos of NFL sponsors Canon and Reebok while shooting games.
"It is anathema to us that our employees should be put in the position of becoming walking billboards or be viewed as troublemakers for refusing to wear advertising materials just to do their jobs," ASNE President Gilbert Bailon wrote. "It is our hope that the NFL will simply credential our representatives and let them go about their work."
Added APME President Karen Magnuson: "Commissioner Goodell, our objections to his rule are grounded in our desire not to have our working press photographers become unwilling participants in any commercial and marketing arrangements the NFL has with its sponsors. ... In effect, the photographers will become walking billboards for NFL sponsors."
An NFL spokesman took issue with the claim that the photographers would be walking billboards, noting that the logos were too small to be visible on TV and far smaller than what is often required of photographers covering other sports.
He said the Reebok logo was used because Reebok made the vests, and was the same size as Reebok logos on other garments the Adidas-owned company manufactures. Canon's logo was included as a way of recognizing a 23-year NFL sponsor, the spokesman said.
Earlier this month, Ms. Magnuson wrote Mr. Goodell to protest another new NFL policy that restricted the amount of online audio and video NFL content news outlets could post on their web pages, and also prevented the papers from archiving online audio and video content.