Your backside is no longer your own. You must do with it what your new pimp tells you to do...that is...if you wish to work the turf that the National Football League owns. You wanna turn a trick on the sidelines of a game? You gotta give your due to your overlord.
Even The Wall Street Journal refers to them as "overlords" in their latest article from yesterday, Sports Leagues Impose More Rules on Coverage, starting the article "The overlords of big-time sports and reporters have battled for nearly as long as they've needed each other. In 1938, baseball's Pittsburgh Pirates successfully sued a radio station that placed staffers outside Forbes Field to peek in and broadcast an unauthorized play-by-play of a game. For all the tension, the two sides had a symbiotic relationship. Publicity sold tickets and access sold papers and boosted ratings."
The article goes on to report "But some of the NFL's other actions have horrified Alex Marvez, president of the Pro Football Writers Association and a South Florida Sun-Sentinel reporter. He winces at the new rule requiring photographers to wear red vests with small Canon and Reebok logos. Mr. Marvez calls the idea of using working press members as advertising vehicles "really alarming." Neither company is paying a specific fee for the vests, but Canon Inc. is an official sponsor of the league (it pays a rights fee to be associated with the NFL) and Reebok International Ltd., owned by Adidas AG, is a league licensee (it makes merchandise with NFL logos, including jerseys, pants and photo vests)." (as shown above left).
While it may be that - for now - most sideline photographers are Canon photographers, and were I a Nikon photographer that had a sponsorship deal with Nikon (and those photographers do exist) I'd be all but certain that their deal precludes them from using or wearing competitors' logos. Nikon honored George Tiedemann, and they also honored Dave Black a few years ago, both highly regarded and respected sports photographers. While I don't know if they have deals, there are definitively esteemed sports photographers that shoot Nikon.
To the left is the sidelines at a recent MLB game that I made. Aside from seeing the horrible yellow, what I see is where sports marketing person could say, during the game when touring a potential sponsor - "See all those blank yellow vests down there. That blank space could be instead have your logo, we make them wear those....". Well, now, sections of the vest have sponsor logos. Soon, each vest could well look like a NASCAR car, with major and minor logos. I see atleast two photographers with Nikon gear, just on this side of the field.
Our friends over a Sportshooter are chiming in, as has the NPPA.. If you thought you, as a sports photographer, were not a part of the money making machine, and somehow immune from it, or otherwise a dignified member of the news media, think again. Next it will be sheer pantyhose and daisy-dukes to take your respect down a notch.
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