The NBA is revising its media guidelines and the new structure will show a little balance; loosening some obligations on players and coaches while making some additions it feels will improve access and be more enforceable.
The new rules, sent to all NBA teams last Friday, decreases the amount of times players are required to be available on game days but mandates they speak at least once while sidelined with a long-term injury.
The late-season injuries to Derrick Rose and Kevin Garnett are the examples of why this rule was implemented, their teams’ seasons ended before they ever spoke to reporters after getting hurt. The new rules require a player with a long-term injury to meet with the media within a week of the diagnosis, if medically possible, and speak once a week after he returns to practice, even if he hasn’t resumed playing in games.
Also in the 2013-14 guidelines, which appear in the league’s operations manual and its media website:
– Practices must be open to reporters, at the beginning or end, for 15 minutes; it used to be 30.
– Locker rooms will be open before games for 30 minutes, down from 45. However, both coaches will speak before that window begins. Most coaches previously spoke during the 45-minute window.
– Players must be available within 45 minutes after a game ends.
The league worked in conjunction with the NBA Public Relations Directors Association, the Professional Basketball Writers Association, its players and coaches during the review process.
Coaches can shorten the length of time they have to open practice to reporters and won’t be required to meet with the media after morning shootarounds at home, but will still have to when they’re on the road.
NBA senior vice president of communications Tim Frank says the changes were made in an effort to “achieve consistency across the league. It was time to take a fresh look,” Frank said. ”We’ve basically had the same rules for 30-plus years and with the changing media landscape it was clear there were redundancies and we needed to adjust.”