National Basketball Players Associate executive director Michele Roberts criticized how the media uses locker-room availability.
I don’t think Roberts properly understood the situation – which she essentially later admitted – but there are legitimate reasons to re-think locker-room access.
Consider what happened to LeBron James after the Cavaliers’ win at Orlando on Sunday.
Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com:
James was sitting at his locker stall with his head down as he scrolled through his cell phone. All he had on was a towel around his waist, so obviously he wasn’t quite ready to address the media.
Respecting his privacy, members of the media either gave him 10 feet of space or interviewed other players until he was prepared to interact.
Then all of a sudden James looked up with a baffled expression plastered on his face and signaled over a team official. Those who saw how his demeanor abruptly changed were curious to what had occurred.
It turned out that James did the equivalent of a no-look pass. Even though his head was lowered, using his peripheral vision, he some somehow managed to catch one of the media delegates taking a picture of him while he was semi-bare.
“That’s not cool, man,” James said. “I don’t miss anything.”
This person denied taking the photo and was able to manipulate his phone gallery in such a way that buried the most recent pictures taken.
An isolated incident? Hardly. This happened the very next night, following Cleveland’s loss in Miami. Haynes:
James was addressing the media at his stall. On this occasion he spoke to the contingent immediately and had not gotten dressed yet. A towel was all he had on at that moment.
In the back of the scrum surrounding him, two media members in plain view were rapidly snapping photos of James with their phones while he was answering questions. This time team personnel caught the suspects in the act and removed them from the locker room.
This is one of the reasons I don’t believe the media should conduct interviews in the locker room.
There are just too many reporters for team PR staffs to properly vet beforehand. On the flip side, excluding reporters whose credentials are unclear would unfairly ban reporters who actually do belong.
How many times have people snapped similar photos without getting caught? How many more will?
If I were a player, I wouldn’t want to change in front of strangers – nearly all of whom have a camera in their phone. The situation is just inviting these problems.