Yahoo Sports had the following report on the post-game rift between an All-Star pitcher and asports reporter:
Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander still isn’t over his former team’s writers. Verlander had a Detroit Free Press writer banned from the Astros clubhouse following Verlander’s loss to the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Following the contest, a 2-1 win by the Tigers, a writer from the Detroit Free Press attempted to enter the Astros clubhouse with the rest of the media. When that writer got to the clubhouse, (he) were told (he) could not enter. Three Astros' security guards were present to make sure the writer was not able to get into the clubhouse.
Verlander told the Astros he would not do his general media session if the reporter from the Detroit Free Press was in the clubhouse.
Once Verlander wrapped up his conversation with the media, the Astros let the Detroit writer into the clubhouse. The writer approached Verlander and asked about Wednesday’s game, but Verlander walked away after telling the reporter “I’m not answering your questions.”
It’s unclear why Verlander was upset with the writer. It’s possible a tweet was to blame. Following the game, the Detroit Free Press sent out a snarky tweet about Verlander picking up the loss. (It said Verlander pitched the Tigers to a 2-1 victory. Verlander only gave up two hits; solo home runs.)
The headline on the actual article and the article itself are totally normal, and makes no snarky reference to Verlander pitching the Tigers to victory. It’s possible the writer of that article had nothing to do with that tweet.
On Thursday, Verlander addressed the issue, saying he did not speak to the reporter due to “unethical behavior in the past.”
The Free Press will protest the issue to Major League Baseball and the Astros. Restricting a member of the press from a clubhouse goes against the mission of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
>>>> I have many problems here.
First, MLB Rules with Baseball Writers Association and the CBA provide that BWAA credentialed sports writers shall have access to the clubhouse 10 minutes after the end of the game and players must be available to conduct interviews. The latter has not been strictly enforced if the player was getting trainer room treatment or was a pud hiding in another area of the clubhouse. The 10 minute rule is clear and enforced in the past. The Astros intentionally violated that rule. The commissioner can fine the team.
Second, Verlander directing his team officials to violate a rule is problematic. When do team officials work for a player? It is the other way around. Since Verlander intentionally violated the rules, he could be suspended or fined by the Commissioner (including invoking the best interests of baseball authority since the press represents the fans).
Third, Verlander could not speak to the reporter during the 10 minute Q&A period (we see that all the time - - - the players look like jerks, but can refuse to answer a question). Even if he shuts out the Detroit reporter, he is there to take down his other answers about the game. By barring him from the clubhouse, the Astros and Verlander took away the reporter's right to get information for his game story.
It is true that professional journalism is having a hard time maintaining its position as the Fourth Estate, an important vessel for truth and accuracy of daily news events. The internet and social media has made blabbering idiots the de facto voices of information (not fact or truth). In the vast majority of cases, there is no adversarial relationship between a beat reporter and the team he or she covers. But teams now see themselves as media competitors since they or their leagues have their own web sites and networks feeding fans information. Teams, like the Bears, severely restrict access and what beat reporters can say during practices. It is a horrible trend. All journalism is important to independently and accurately capture facts for history.
Verlander should have done his contractual job and listened to questions from all credentialed reporters, whether he liked it or not. The sports reporters after hearing Verlander's excuse, should have demanded the truth about his charge of unethical behavior. That is the real lost news story in this entire event. Everybody should do their job.