Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NFL Prohibits Reporters From Tweeting Draft Picks in Advance, NBA Doesn’t Have Same Policy
The NFL instituted a new policy this year that prevented reporters from their media partners from Tweeting picks from the NFL Draft in advance, but the NBA doesn’t have the same policy.
According to a report from Richard Sandomir of The New York Times, the NFL secured agreements not only from ESPN reporters like Adam Schefter but from CBS, Fox and NBA “that their reporters would not report who was being drafted in advance.
ESPN is broadcasting the Draft and agreed to the terms because fans were getting upset when they knew the picks in advance.
“As network partners of the NFL, we encourage and appreciate your coverage of the Draft in Chicago this year and ask for your cooperation with this approach,” read a letter from the league, first reported by The Big Lead website. “Please have your reporters and other personnel refrain from revealing picks on social media or other platforms before they are announced in the Draft broadcasts.”
Schefter told the Times he was OK with the policy, even though it runs counter to journalistic instincts to break news if you have the story.
“We’re in your living room for three hours, and if there’s a news story, I’m going to get it,” he told the Times. “We’re not going to bury it. It’ll go right on TV.”
Meantime, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, who is well known for breaking most of the NBA Draft picks in advance on Draft night, obviously disagrees with policies like this and has no plans to ever follow suit. The NBA Draft is June 25.
“I don’t care about anybody’s television show,” Wojnarowski told the Times. “My job is to report and break news when I have the news, and who a team is drafting is news. The draft and the announcement is a ceremony. I don’t care about anybody’s ceremony. I don’t wait for things to be announced. I would never accept any edict not to report the news.” He added, “I see it as an extension of free agency and the trade deadline. If your information is accurate, you want to report it.”
According to the Times, the NBA “restricts its network partners and announcers involved in its draft production from revealing picks in advance, but it does not prohibit its reporters working independently from doing so.”
Meantime, Robert Lipsyte, a former ESPN ombudsman and New York Times sports columnist, told the Times he was not surprised that networks had agreed to embargo news at the N.F.L.’s request.
“What do you expect from a business partner?” he said. “It’s the power of the N.F.L. If ESPN were indeed able to separate out its journalism from its business partnership, there’d be no question that you’d go with the story. Isn’t that what it’s all about — if you believe in the stuff, you’re the first with the most you’ve got? If you’re listening to your source dictate the terms, this really gives us a sense of the relationship between ESPN and the N.F.L.” Maybe, he added, “ESPN and the other networks are willing accomplices in selling the story.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.