The trouble of editorial balance
My daughter asked an interesting question when we were in Tampa and talking with some of the local beat writers about whether they could be friends with players on the team.
The answer is unfortunately no but they can be acquaintances. This is simply because there may come a time when the reporter has to write something negative or difficult about that player and would find that their personal relationship would get in the way of them doing a job.
NFL players understand this of course and realise that the likes of Roy Cummings or Rick Stroud, the daily beat writers covering the Bucs, are simply there to report on events and situations. Only a complete asshole of a player would find fault in this but it sometimes does happen.
The true reporter will approach a player to ask about a negative play or performance to get their take on the situation. Some players will not want to comment but most will accept that if they drop a pass or commit a penalty, then it is going to be written about. And they will not hold it against Roy or Rick for doing so.
Then you come to the position I recently found myself in when writing about Raheem Morris' position as head coach of the Buccaneers. I am not employed by the Bucs or any other organisation so in a way I have a lot more freedom to convey opinion than most sports writers.
But I am restricted by the fact that I am a fan and a very priviliged one at that, who got to know Raheem and many of his coaches and players as friends in recent months. Does that mean I have to take a totally blinkered view of the recent losing streak or team performances?
In a way, yes I do. I am not going to take the wildly critical view that the general blogger or message board poster will, simply because I do have to show some restraint. But it does not mean that I cannot have an opinion on events as I am ultimately a fan.
So when I called for Raheem to go as head coach, I did so because in my own eyes, I thought it would be better for the Buccaneers if he did. I want the Bucs to win, to be successful and once again lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy. I can be realistic enough to know you cannot win every week but I do want to see something that makes my support worth the time and money I put into it.
If the powers that be decide there will be no coaching change going into the 2012 season, I may comment on it but then I will be behind them and the team like any true fan would be. Not an easy balance to maintain at times but an understandable one for everyone concerned.
You've been great, enjoy Jona Lewie.