By Jeff Moss
January 16, 2014
I had planned on attending yesterday’s Detroit Lions press conference announcing the hiring of their incompetent head coach Jim Caldwell.
Mainly, because it has become painfully obvious that unless a DSR emissary shows up for these dog-and-pony shows, not ONE good question will be asked of the higher-ups of the Detroit sports franchises.
I had already planned out my wardrobe, received specific instructions on where I should park and enter Ford Field from someone in the know, and had plans to purchase a lanyard and create a fake credential from the Jewish News on Wednesday morning. Part of the ruse included sporting a yarmulke, wearing my Bar Mitzvah tallit and speaking Yiddish to beat writers Josh Katzenstein and Michael Rothstein. I felt carrying my shofar into Ford Field would been a little over-the-top.
But my hopes of crashing this #1PlayoffWinIn56Years shindig were dashed as soon as I checked my iPhone when rolling out of bed Wednesday morning, as I received the following Tweet photo in an email from Oakland University basketball statistician Jeremiah Fick:
Yep. On the day that I was going to make my Lions press conference debut, the team COMPLETELY changed their credentialed media security protocol!!!!!
All because they obviously caught wind that I was going to attend their little welcoming party. And if you don’t believe this was done with the specific purpose of keeping Poor Jiff Myst out of Ford Field … well …. I don’t know what to tell ya.
How odd was this sudden change in approach? Gregg Henson — who has run several radio stations over the last 20-plus years as a Program Director — called this move “unprecedented” with the Lions.
Another member of the Detroit Media said that the heightened security for Caldwell’s presser was at a “Super Bowl level.”
Former WDFN employee Rob Otto — whose job required him attending hundreds of these events — said he had never seen that type of security for a non-game.
How bad was the extra scrutiny? An MLIVE.com Lions beat writer compared it to a Jennifer Lawrence’s movie vehicle:
@JeffMossDSR I feel like I’m getting ready to go to the Hunger Games lottery or something.
— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) January 15, 2014
Here is the actual alert the Lions sent out to the media warning them about the new measures designed to keep me out of their sandbox:
Attn: Sports Editors, Sports Directors, News Editors and News Directors
Due to Ford Field stadium security protocol, all media (including all reporters who cover the team on a regular basis) requesting to cover today’s press conference must pre-register by submitting an e-mail request to Detroit Lions Director of Media Relations Matt Barnhart (Matt.Barnhart@lions.nfl.net) by 2 p.m.
Editors and news directors should provide all names of reporters, producers, photographers and technicians who need access to today’s press conference.
Media should enter Ford Field Gate G and proceed to the media check-in table.
Media will be required to present either their pre-distributed Allen Park Season Media credentials or two forms of identification that include both company and government identification.
Check-in will begin at 3 p.m. and close at approximately 4 p.m.
For any further questions regarding logistics, please follow up via e-mail with Matt Barnhart.
Any electronic media outlets who need to request live transmissions of the press conference should contact Director of Broadcasting and Production Bryan Bender (bbender@detroitlions.
Following approval, media can park in the Ford Field Parking Deck located off St. Antoine and should proceed to enter Gate G on street level. Parking for media will be validated at the media check-in table.
# 30 #
Well, I still figured it was worth a shot to email Barnhart and ask for a credential — even though Ayman al-Zawahiri would have a better chance of getting access to the White House’s Briefing Room.
Hello there. I would like to request a media credential for today’s press conference announcing the Detroit Lions new head coach.
I work for a website called the DetroitSportsRag.com. Maybe you have heard of it. Since it would appear you have changed your entire press credential media security protocol to keep me out of today’s festivities.
Anyway, my site is pretty popular in Detroit. For example, my article on the Caldwell hire already has 3,000 unique page clicks this morning which I am sure is way more hits than credentialed media like Dave Hogg, Dana Wakiji and Bill Shea get on their posts. Also, I bet more people know who I am than David Solano. Do you even know who David Solano is?
Finally, your team President follows me on Twitter. Tom Lewand only follows 241 people on that particular social media platform so I must be pretty important.
If you don’t believe me that Mr. Lewand follows me on Twitter, I have attached photographic evidence that he does.
Anyway, sorry for the late notice, but I figured I was going to be able to just walk in to this presser without all of this hullabaloo. Like I did a few weeks ago at Comerica Park for a Tigers related PC.
Since there are only about three hours left before the press conference commences, your immediate response would be appreciated.
As referenced above, I attached this photographic evidence of my importance to the Lions President and well-known Mentos enthusiast.
Alas, my case wasn’t very convincing to Bill Keenist’s bitch. Shockingly enough, I received this response from the Ford Field Gestapo:
Thank you for your interest in covering today’s press conference at Ford Field. Due to the numerous requests submitted to cover Detroit Lions throughout the year, including several from online-based outlets, we use a very specific formula for accrediting media. Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate your request. We classify your website as a non-traditional outlet, and you do not qualify for accreditation at this time. I have provided our Media Credential Guidelines below.
Director of Media Relations
Unfortunately, I didn’t qualify for accreditation, unlike journalistic stalwarts Tim Twentyman, Mike O’Hara, Matt Shepard and Dan Miller, who all earn a paycheck from this putrid franchise.
They have a specific formula because they couldn’t find any room for me on a 120-yard playing surface ….
And while the DSR was excluded from the introduction of Jim Caldwell, the Lions did have room to invite a bunch of their slapdick fans and corporate partners to give Caldwell a warm Detroit welcome.
The explanation for the applause you might have heard when listening to the presser? Well, the fans wearing Lions jerseys, the advertisers in attendance, Roary and of course …… Twentyman.
While I had Barnhart’s attention, I figured I would send a few more emails to the Director of Media Relations. Unfortunately, the following missives didn’t elicit a response:
I am shocked. Can you please just admit you have changed the security protocol today for the specific purpose of keeping ME out? Which is fine. But why not just tell security to keep this Jeff Moss character out of here? Instead you have created total aggravation for the media. I have heard from three media members already today bitching about this new practice. One person who was already out for the day and who had to return home to get a piece of ID. I am quite honored that you have taken these post-9/11 security measures for Poor Ol Jiff Must. Also, if my websight TM (Terry Foster) is so inconsequential, why does Tom Lewand follow me? There are plenty of people in attendance today who he doesn’t follow on Twitter.
Also, can I appeal this decision to a higher-up? How about Bill Keenist? Ask him.You know the hack that besmirched Tom Kowalski’s ethics years ago. And then apologized for it at Tom’s memorial service? When it was TOO LATE. Cause, you know, Tom was dead. That Bill Keenist. Get an answer from him please.
Nada. Guess the Director of Media Relations didn’t like me bringing up the time his office lied about Kowalski’s credibility to the public. You know, the guy after whom they named their Allen Park media room.
Tim Twentyman and Mike O’Hara are allowed in the press conference, right? Do they have Direct Deposit from the Detroit Lions or do they have to actually cash a check signed by Bill Ford, Jr.?
I don’t think these emails were helping.
And in the end it didn’t really matter anyway. The actual press conference was such a farce that even if I could have sneaked in, I wouldn’t have been able to impact it like I did the Joe Nathan signing announcement.
First, you had Lewand and Mayhew giving defensive speeches trying to convince the fan base that Caldwell wasn’t a second choice. In fact, Lewand mentioned Ken Whisenhunt’s name BEFORE the dude he ACTUALLY hired.
Then you had Caldwell’s rambling and extremely Bill Clinton-esque soliloquy. It was only missing the empty chair from Clint Eastwood’s RNC speech.
Caldwell’s impassioned plea was so freaking wordy that at one point I mentioned on Twitter that I thought Aaron Sorkin had penned it.
From a family biography to Chinese proverbs to a thank you to the United Auto Workers to a discussion about his blue-collar, Midwest roots to Bible passages, I wasn’t sure if I was being sold on a new football coach or determining a potential mate on eHarmony.
The Reverend Caldwell asked his parishioners if they believed in Providence. I am not sure if Poor Man’s Mike Singletary was talking about the hospital in Southfield or about the old NBC show starring B.J. Hunnicutt from M*A*S*H.
The damn sermon went on for so long that I was begging for either an orchestra to start playing Caldwell off the podium or for Amy Poehler and Tina Fey to drag him away from the lectern.
The acceptance speech came to a merciful conclusion after The New Jim thanked his agent, Harvey Weinstein, Tony Dungy, Peyton Manning, Nell Carter, John Harbaugh, Bill McCartney, Joe Paterno and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
FINALLY, the preliminaries were over and we were going to get some questions from the assembled press who were successful in providing two pieces of government ID, a urine sample, a hair follicle, their first male child and birth certificate to get past the Ford Field Paul Blarts.
But the intense security wasn’t the only dirty trick up the sleeve of the Pyongyang-esque Lions front office. They didn’t have the decency to employ a roving intern with a microphone so we could actually hear what questions were being asked.
And don’t think this was bad planning. It was deliberate. Mayhew, Lewand and Keenist didn’t want YOU to hear the queries, just Caldwell’s responses. The only way this could have been more of a Banana Republic-like operation was if FEMA under George W. Bush had staged it.
And not only that, but Lewand and Mayhew refused to take questions from the media in that setting because they didn’t want it available for public consumption. Instead, they answered the reporters’ inquiries in private without their despondent fans being privy to the answers.
This was sickening behavior even for this garbage franchise. For an organization that has won one playoff game in 56 years and has never been to the BIG GAME, this might have been an all-time low.
I could ALMOST handle ALL of the losing if it weren’t for the propaganda games these assholes are now playing. I know every professional sports organization has their own website at this point, but are they THIS disingenuous? Read the following two Tweets that appeared within minutes of each other.
The perception of Jim Caldwell is very different than the reality.
— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) January 15, 2014
Bill Ford on Caldwell: “I think the image that has been written about him is very different than what he is.” #WelcomeCoach
— Detroit Lions (@DetroitLionsNFL) January 15, 2014
This motherfucking sellout ho (Twentyman) isn’t only a total corporate shill, he is obviously being supplied MARCHING ORDERS on how to frame public opinion!!!!!
This is PROFESSIONAL ATHLETICS and the Lions are trying to sway YOUR opinion of a COACHING HIRE like this is the Third Reich and national pride and the Final Solution is being peddled.
So, I can’t tell you if anyone asked Lewand and Mayhew how they could hire a coach with an ACC winning percentage of .190. Or why they trusted Dungy’s recommendation when he already led them down the wrong path with Rod Marinelli. Or if Dave Birkett or Justin Rogers asked Caldwell if he finally realizes his timeout in the playoffs against the Jets was a really, really, REALLY bad idea.
Because the Lions made sure we didn’t hear the questions and they made damn sure I wasn’t anywhere close to the principals to report what occurred when the ONE hot microphone in the entire building was shut off.
I will leave you with one question though, and I would like an answer from you on Twitter when you read this. Because I am a HUGE narcissist, I always believe everything is about me.
Like, when Jennifer Ham[sandwich]mond and Scott “The Whale” Anderson Tweeted out this picture on Tuesday night from Rob Parker’s 50th birthday party with the tagline, “We Love Leyland,” I figure it had to be done just to get under MY skin.
That’s not my question, because that answer is obvious.
No, I would like to know if you think Lewand was trolling me when he did this on Wednesday afternoon ….
Pulling out a white piece of paper from a sports coat to prove to the media that he had a certain criteria for the new head coach?
Was this an homage to Dave Dombrowski responding to MY question about whether the Tigers GM did his due diligence when making the Doug Fister trade????
Was this a dig at me, or am I fucking nuts?
And I am well aware that “All of the Above” is certainly a possibility.