Fans of Deadspin and SBNation, picture this: you are at a work conference, a grocery store or otherwise occupied on a Sunday, just trying to check out the highlights (or lowlights) from the sports action over the weekend. You go to your Twitter or Facebook account to check out some game scores and highlights. To your surprise, the only thing you can find are videos sanctioned by the NFL and promoted by an official NFL account. Does that sound like our viral video era in 2015?
If your answer is no, you might be surprised (or perhaps because it’s the NFL – nothing surprises you anymore) to find out that last week, the NFL, Big 12, SEC, and Ultimate Fighting Championship decided to take the fight to two Twitter account holders who post Vines and GIFs (short video clips) of NFL action. Submitting to the pressure, Twitter suspended @Deadspin and @SBNationGIF accounts as the dispute over whether they can publish these videos moves forward.
I realize that Roger Goodell is trying to expand the NFL to other markets, I just did not realize that this also includes centralized media control that would make the Politburos in Russia or North Korea blush. While everyone from star players to movie stars loves to have their product shared on social media, the NFL seems determined to curb our ability to enjoy those funny Vines of GIFs of our favorite sports figures. If sharing clips on social media is good for the Tonight Show, Late Night, and Jon Oliver, why isn’t it good for the NFL? Yet the NFL is worried that a short clip or a funny GIF infringes on their multi-billion dollar contracts with the networks. At end of the day, how else am I supposed to watch an assistant wipe Jerry Jones’ glasses?
Not surprisingly some have already voiced their displeasure with the decision.
Deadspin and SBNation are awesome sports sites. Fans love them. If the NFL were smart, rather than beat up on these paragons of sports reporting, the league would embrace the coverage and fan support.
What do you think about the NFL's decision to prevent fans from accessing video clips and information on Deadspin and SBNation? Share your comments below.