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Jets explain presence of camera man on sidelines

NFL Union TV Complaint Football

In this photo taken Sept. 26, 2010, a television camera is seen high over the field before the start of an NFL football game between the Washington Redskins and St. Louis Rams in St. Louis. A federal judge backed the NFL players’ union over the league on Tuesday, March 1, 2011, in a dispute over television revenue with implications for the looming potential lockout. U.S. District Judge David Doty ruled that the league violated its agreement with the union in carving out $4 billion for itself in additional television revenue. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)


Well, the latest NFL controversy was over before it even really began.

Many of you have been up in arms regarding the presence of a man with a camera on the Jets sideline during Sunday’s game against the Patriots. The camera was pointing out onto the field, and possibly across the field to the Pats sideline.

The Jets have explained to PFT that the man with the camera “works for Jets TV and shoots footage for our team programming.”

The Jets also have pointed out that the league’s 2011 policy on sideline media access permits "[c]lub video crews and video crews from television stations that produce and telecast club-licensed programming (e.g. coaches’ shows, team magazine-style shows, etc.) may also be permitted to have a camera on the sidelines to shoot footage for those club-licensed programs only.”

Also, club-related sideline video personnel are required to wear lime green vests. The man shown with a camera was wearing a lime green vest.

Thus, the presence of the camera doesn’t constitute a violation of the rules. And any team can do it.

But how does anyone know that the footage shot by a team employee won’t be used by the team for some improper purpose?

If coaches are paranoid about the placement by NFL Films of microphones into the pads of offensive linemen, how can coaches be OK with the presence of cameramen who work not for the league or NFL films but for the team that could misuse the images captured by the cameras?

This one just seems odd. Maybe every coach is fine with it because every coach has an in-house camera guy potentially doing precisely what the Patriots used to do, with only the addition of a lime green vest. Or maybe the lime green vest makes it easy to track the guy with the camera in order to make sure no funny business is happening.

Still, it seems odd -- to say the least -- that NFL teams would want to have to worry about this.