NHL Lockout, Day 26: Kings Writer Steps Down After Pushback From League Over Labor-Related Story
Rich Hammond, hired three years ago by the NHL Kings "to cover their games and practices with free editorial reign, left his position as the writer for the 'L.A. Kings Insider' blog to take a job with the Orange County Register to cover USC football and basketball," according to Tom Hoffarth of the L.A. DAILY NEWS. Last night in front of a sports business class at USC's Annenberg School of Communications & Journalism, Hammond "elaborated that recent pushback from the NHL for a story he did during the current lockout resulted in him reconsidering how effectively he could continue to work in that role." Hammond's Sept. 17 post was a Q&A with Kings RW Kevin Westgarth, "the most visible of the team's players as he worked with" the NHLPA during CBA talks. Westgarth was "candid in his opinions about both sides of the negotiations." Hammond said, "The league wanted the story taken down. Technically, they were saying that as a team employee, I had to abide by their rules of not discussing the lockout." However, he "stressed the Kings organization did not take issue with it." The story remains posted, but Hammond "wondered about maintaining the integrity of the blog if future restrictions or threats were ever put to him again." Hammond told the USC class that the team "would have preferred he stayed but he 'was not totally convinced the Kings could make (this situation) have a good ending.'" The Kings said that it is their "intention to hire a new writer for the 'Insider' blog" (OCREGISTER.com, 10/11).