Monday, September 14, 2009

A Touch of Class From Ann Arbor

There's an old and sacred rule in sports media: No cheering in the press box.

According to the New York Times, the violation of that rule wasn't just a freak occurrence, but it was actually encouraged in the press box at Michigan Stadium as their PA guy announced the final score from the MSU - Central game, at which point a huge roar went up from the assembled media.

The PA guy's quote: “Cheering is not allowed in the press box, but it is right now.”

The first draft of this post had me going off on those journalists' credibility, decrying the cheering lot of them as unprofessional hacks. That seemed a bit, um, direct, so let me instead remind all the Michigan reporters at that game that a large part of their beat this year is chasing the fallout from a single report that saw each of them got their journalistic backsides handed to them by the Detroit Free Press. Hope that's going well for ya.

As for the Notre Dame writers, well, I'm actually disappointed. I've never had a bad experience in covering 3 MSU games at Notre Dame Stadium. Everyone I met, from the staff to the writers, were professionals who truly seemed to take pride in what they did. They all understood what it meant to cover Notre Dame football, Touchdown Jesus, Wake up the Echoes, all of it. Epitome of class, every one of them.

That's why this was really out of character. Rubbing salt in an opponent's wounds just isn't the Notre Dame way.

I don't expect to hear of much cheering in the press box this weekend. Either A) the Notre Dame media will have learned their lesson, or B) their team will have lost. And given that MSU is on a six-game winning streak in South Bend, I like the odds of option B.

Update: Just saw Joe Rexrode's post on this subject, where he points out that not everyone in the press box is working media. That's true, but I'd make the following three points:
  1. The no cheer rule is still always explicitly stated before (and usually during) the game.
  2. The overwhelming majority of people in the press box are working press or athletic department staff. Usually about 90 percent or so.
  3. "Waiving" that rule, even if you're trying to be funny, is tacky at best and classless at worst.
I should mention, by the way, that the next time folks head into the Spartan Stadium press box to cover a game it will be against the Wolverines.

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