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Bills become latest NFL team to institute absurdly restrictive media policy

Rex Ryan will be leading the Bills through training camp this year, but you didn’t hear it from us. (Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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The Buffalo Bills have released their new media policy for the upcoming season, and it’s interesting in that reporters will be prohibited from reporting.

Here’s the relevant passages, from Tyler Dunne of the Buffalo News:

In summary:

NFL teams are allowed to set their own media rules, though they must follow the NFL’s Media Access Policy. The Bills’ new regulations seem to run afoul of the 2015 MAP, which was posted on the Pro Football Writers of America website:

For practice sessions during training camp and minicamp that are open to the public, there should be a balance that addresses publicity for our teams, the role of media in serving our fans, and the goals and procedures set by individual teams. As such, we require that at least for practice sessions that are open to the public – and subject to guidelines set by clubs on the reporting of strategy – clubs must allow reporting (tweeting, blogging, etc.) of newsworthy events, such as VIP visitors to practice, exceptional catches, standout rookie performers, etc.

NFL teams have long tried to skirt those rules, often laying down draconian-seeming policies before softening them after complaints from reporters. The Chicago Bears, for one, instituted a similar (and similarly decried) media policy last year, with reporters banned from reporting certain aspects of practice. But as noted by critics of the Bears policy last year and by Dunne, fans who attend training camp sessions can tweet out anything they want. So under Buffalo’s new policy, we could be seeing reports like this come August:

PITTSFORD, N.Y., Aug. 6 — Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor looked sharp in Saturday’s training-camp practices, according to eyewitness reports from fans who were there.
“Taylor deep bomb to Woods. Super Bowl here we come,” @ZubazFan said on Twitter.
But the news wasn’t all good. Guard Richie Icognito, a 2015 Pro Bowler who signed a three-year contract in the offseason, appeared to limp off the field with some sort of lower-body injury, according to reports from @CircleTheWagons, @EthelThurman and @ErieSensation, who were all in the stands.
Reached for comment, fellow training camp attendee @MarkKelsosHelmet was succinct.
“Noooooooooooooo,” he said via DM.
The Bills themselves were mum on Incognito’s injury, even though eyewitness @InTyrodWeTrust reported that he saw the beefy offensive lineman being stretchered into an awaiting ambulance after the practice session.
Team officials declined to comment on the extent of Incognito’s injury or even if he was even on the field at the time.
In other news, running back LeSean McCoy dropped a pass, with @Beebee8 demanding that he be cut from the team.

The Bills had organized team activities on Tuesday, and naturally the reporters on hand were having some fun with the new policy instead of talking about, you know, how the team was doing.

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