On Tuesday afternoon, the NFL made a major decision those in the sports media world aren’t too happy about.
According to a report from NFL insider Tom Pelissero, the NFL informed teams that locker room access will be limited to 50 people while players are present on game day. Only club-affiliated media is allowed.
“There has been virtually no media in locker room during 2021 preseason, with limited exceptions for certain network partners,” Pelissero reported on Twitter. “Now, no more exceptions except for those employed by the team, and the media ban is set to extend into regular season.”
The NFL informed clubs today that effective immediately, locker room access while players are present on game day will be limited to 50 people — and no media unless they’re club-affiliated, per source.
No surprise, given current COVID situation, but a major impact on coverage.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 24, 2021
It’s a tough blow for those reporters covering the team that wanted a more personal approach this season. Unfortunately, COVID-19 made that impossible yet again.
As Pelissero noted in his thread on Twitter, this isn’t much of a change from the 2020 season.
“For context, the NFL limited locker room access to 40 non-players in 2020,” he said. “There was no limit through first two weeks of the 2021 preseason; starting with this week’s games, the limit is now 50.”
While access to the players is important, their overall health takes priority.
The 2021 season officially kicks off on Thursday, September 9. Reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Dallas Cowboys in a highly-anticipated clash.