Christine Tatum, President (303) 881-8702, Ctatum@spj.org
Beth King, Communications Manager, (317) 927 -8000, ext. 211, firstname.lastname@example.org
INDIANAPOLIS – Journalists reporting on National Football League games should hide corporate logos emblazoned on red vests the NFL is requiring news professionals to wear this season, say national leaders of the Society of Professional Journalists.
The NFL will not require journalists to display the logos for NFL sponsors Canon and Reebok, and no action will be taken against journalists who hide the corporate symbols, league spokesman Greg Aiello told SPJ Monday. However, the NFL would prefer that journalists not hide the logos, which are small and not intended to give Canon and Reebok more media exposure, Aiello said.
“Self-respecting journalists will cover those logos before they allow themselves to become walking billboards for the NFL,” SPJ National President Christine Tatum said. “The NFL is giving everyone a wink-wink solution when it instead should demonstrate respect for the importance of a free and independent press.”
“SPJ never objected to the distribution of distinctive red vests to identify members of the media at field level,” said Andrew Schotz, SPJ’s National Ethics Committee chairman. “However, we are dead set against the league impinging on journalistic standards of ethics for no apparent reason — other than the NFL’s mysterious explanation that the logos were ‘directly related to the manufacture of the vest.’”
SPJ’s Code of Ethics encourages journalists to “remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.”
The NFL drafted the new policy after seeing journalists at other events wearing apparel covered in corporate logos. That practice of donning such clothing is unwise and should be stopped immediately, Tatum said.
The Society of Professional Journalists works to improve and protect journalism. SPJ is dedicated to encouraging the free practice of journalism and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior. For more information about SPJ, visit www.spj.org.