SBD/Issue 50/Sports Media

Bears Deny NBC Rift Despite Refusal To Make Personnel Available

Smith Denies Rift With NBC After
Turning Down Interview Request
The Bears "deny any rift with NBC after it was reported the team turned down the network's request to interview" GM Jerry Angelo, coach Lovie Smith and QB Jay Cutler ahead of their "Sunday Night Football" game against the Eagles, according to Jeff Dickerson of ESPNCHICAGO.com. Smith said, "I'm trying to figure out where that all came from. We try to do whatever we can for anyone that's coming in. We've played quite a few Sunday night games, so there's not a whole lot more for us to talk about. We're making our players available right up until game time. But as far as participating an awful lot right now, it's kind of time for us to play football. We try to do as many interviews as we can during game week, but once you get a closer to it, we're kind of reeling things in a little bit." Bears Senior Dir of Corporate Communications Scott Hagel said, "Nobody had any issues on either side. We love working with NBC, and we love having our games on national television. NBC and the Bears have always been on the same page." Hagel pointed out that the Bears "made Cutler available to the network before each of their three previous Sunday night appearances" (ESPNCHICAGO.com, 11/19). NBC's Bob Costas said, "I certainly don't take it personally. I think the answer would've been the same if it was Monday Night Football or if the request had been made by CBS or by Fox or whomever made the request. It's just the particular point in the Bears' season" (SUNTIMES.com, 11/19).

BITING THE HAND THAT FEEDS YOU? Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan wondered if anyone with the Bears has "stopped to think that NBC is one of four major television entities paying ... lots of money and that all they want is a few minutes of their time for an interview. Roger Goodell should be stepping in and saying, 'This is nonsense, you can't refuse them'" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 11/19). ESPN's Michael Wilbon: "A lot of players are sophisticated and know how their salaries are made. ... I would think that Jay Cutler is sophisticated and knows his (salary) isn't made by tickets sold. It's made off TV revenue and the league's TV partners, of which NBC is one" ("PTI," ESPN, 11/19). A CHICAGO SUN-TIMES editorial is written under the header, "Media-Shy Bears Should Fear Another Loss More Than Costas." Football is "nothing more than another show, like 'America's Top Model,' grown fat on TV," and the networks "will pay the NFL more than $20[B] to broadcast games over the next few years" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 11/20). 

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