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NFL looking into Bears’ failure to disclose downgrades to media

John Fox


The Bears didn’t bring a couple of players to St. Louis. The Bears told the Rams that the players wouldn’t be coming. But the Bears didn’t share that information with the media. And that could be a problem for the Bears.

NFL spokesman Michael Signora tells PFT that the league is looking into the matter.

Telling the opposing team that a player has been downgraded to out isn’t good enough. The NFL’s policy requires that changes to the final injury report be disclosed to the “beat reporters, including the Associated Press, the televising network of your game, the Public Relations department of your opponent that weekend, and your respective Conference Football Communications Director.”

“For players not already designated as ‘out,’ clubs are to notify local media, their opponent’s PR Director, and their Conference Football Communications Director of any player on their injury report who does not travel to a road game due to injury. Such a player is considered ‘out,’ thus necessitating this update.”

While the Rams had fair notice that running back Matt Forte and linebacker Pernell McPhee didn’t travel to St. Louis, the game-integrity principles reflected in the injury reporting policy require not just the other team but the public to know when a guy won’t be playing. Situations like this will reinforce the belief on the part of gamblers that inside information is available, and that they should attempt to pursue it with envelopes containing something other than letterhead.

While the Bears surely will have some sort of explanation/excuse, it was a clear violation -- committed by a team that has choked off plenty of access and information since hiring coach John Fox and G.M. Ryan Pace.