Chicago Bears treat Media like Garbage yet Again

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By Paul M. Banks

Have you ever met a girl who’s barely a 6 out of 10 on a good day, yet struts around like she’s a supermodel? You see such arrogant condescension, despite even the slightest bit of justification. That’s the Chicago Bears and their relationship with the media. They’ve won just one title in the last 50 years, yet think the entire sports universe revolves around them!

I’ve met numerous reporters here in Chicago who refer to their P.R. department as “Police Resistance”.  As bad as my experiences dealing with them have been, I’ve heard MUCH worse stories from numerous other journalists about the horrible ways the Bears treated them. It’s kind of like the scene in Monty Python and the “Life of Brian,” when Brian gets slapped in the face and spit on by the jailer. He complains about it to the guy in his cell chained up to the wall. Who replies “oh, look at you, jailer’s pet. What I wouldn’t give to be spat in the face?”

That’s how it feels. I’ve been shut out and snubbed by them, but at least I didn’t get snubbed while working for THE FREAKING NETWORK THAT IS BROADCASTING THE TEAM’S GAME THAT WEEK! There’s douchebaggery, but this is douchebaggery with brass balls. Coach Lovie Smith, GM Jerry Angelo, and QB Jay Cutler all turned down Bob Costas’ interview request. Yes, the same Bob Costas who has won multiple National Sportcaster of the Year awards (from the National Sportcaster and Sportswriter Association) and nearly 20 Emmy Awards for outstanding sports announcing, and will be doing the game in which the Bears will be playing on Sunday night…was deemed not important enough by the Bears PR department to share time with Lovie, Rex (whoops, I meant to say Jay) and Angelo.

From ESPN Chicago.com, Here is the transcript of Costas’ remarks:

The way this usually happens is that a request for whatever interviews we’d like to put on the pregame show on Football Night in America goes through the PR department of the club. And then usually whoever is asked agrees, because it’s a Sunday night, prime time thing.

In this case, I think the Bears calculated, and it’s very understandable, that any reasonable questions that would be asked, that would be topical this week, can’t have an especially positive spin on them. And I don’t even think they’re running away from those questions. Those questions have been addressed and anything they say now is just yak. So they might as well just let their play – at least they hope – let their play speak for them on Sunday. I think their response would have been the same had it been CBS, or FOX, or ESPN asking for the same interview, because the questions that have to be asked this week are fairly obvious.

[If the team were 6-3 or 7-2 would it have granted permission?] No doubt about it. There’s no hard feelings on my part. I interviewed Jay Cutler earlier this year. I’ve seen him a couple of times. This is the third Bears game we’ve done. I have a cordial relationship with him. I don know him that well. Everybody thinks Lovie Smith is a terrific guy. No problem. There will be a time down the road when they feel more comfortable doing it. It’s their prerogative. They made a decision I think we all understand. I just don’t think it’s that big of a deal.

There’s an argument to that effect, that says look, it’s your obligation, if you’re a front-and-center person it’s your obligation, at least in these prime time showcases. You may not be able to do it every regional telecast every Sunday afternoon 16 times a season, but in the prime time telecast or a postseason game for the network that — as you say — is paying hundreds of millions of dollars that you should sit down and do it. That’s generally the understanding. But there is no contractual obligation for them to do it. So all we can try to do is persuade. I’m sure this won’t be an ongoing thing. People can draw their own conclusions about what is says about the Bears or the people involved, but I can tell you very honestly, it’s not a big deal to me.”

In keeping with the Life of Brian analogy, Costas is no doubt embracing the message of the film’s signature song (video below) “always look on the bright side of life”. My favorite line from the song is “life’s a piece of shit, when you look at it”. But you can replace one word in that lyrics with “the Bears organization.” quite easily.

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