PBWA responds to Michele Roberts' comments on media availability
The Professional Basketball Writers Association released a statement on Thursday responding to remarks made by NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts to espnW's Kate Fagan.
Roberts said that she often sees reporters standing around and staring at players instead of asking questions and said that while "it's very dangerous to suggest any limitation on media's access to players," that we should "be real about some of this stuff."
In response, the PBWA said on Thursday that the NBA's media guidelines "facilitate informed, accurate coverage" and that "the suggestion that reporters use locker-room access periods to eavesdrop on players’ conversations or to do anything other than work is inaccurate."
Here is the associations's complete statement:
"Members of the Professional Basketball Writers Association stand for fair and responsible journalism. The NBA’s media-access rules do more than protect news outlets; the rules serve the public because the rules facilitate informed, accurate coverage.
"The suggestion that reporters use locker-room access periods to eavesdrop on players’ conversations or to do anything other than work is inaccurate. The NBA’s pregame media-access period provides a vital forum for building constructive relationships between players and reporters. In the vast majority of cases, reporters are in locker rooms before a game because the reporters are waiting to interview players who are in the training room for treatment, on the court warming up or attending pregame chapel services.
"The vast majority of players and the vast majority of our members have positive interactions on a daily basis.
"The PBWA has worked with the NBA in recent years to streamline the daily access periods for players and coaches. Individual players are no longer required to do interviews both at the morning shootaround and during the pregame availability session. The pregame access period has been reduced from 45 minutes to 30. The amount of practice time open to the media has been reduced from 30 minutes to 15. These changes were made to assist players and coaches and reduce their media obligations during their workdays.
"The PBWA would welcome the opportunity to meet with Michele Roberts at any location and time of her choosing to discuss the issues she raised in the espnW.com column."
Roberts' remarks and the PBWA's response come less than a month after 2013-14 MVP Kevin Durant criticized the media, saying "you guys don't really know s---," according to The Oklahoman. Durant apologized for his remarks.