Back in April, the NFL announced its plans for mandatory camera access in its locker rooms. The footage is part of the league's mandate to provide new and creative content to draw fans out of their living rooms and into the stadium. How this footage is utilized, or whether it's used at all, is entirely at the discretion of the teams themselves.
However, If star Green Bay Packer linebacker Clay Matthews had his druthers, the whole plan would be scrapped.
"I'm not a fan of that, and I'm not afraid to say that. The availability of the athletes is already so great to fans, the organization and the media, but now to add the locker room -- our one sanctuary, which is even taken over by the media -- and now you throw in cameras?
"You think 'cameras in the locker room' and what does that conjure up images of? It's a privacy issue. I know they're trying to give the fans more of an experience, but what more can you do? We do interviews on the sideline, there's social media. You can't leave the parking lot without people swarming your cars. I'm not a fan of it."
Accessibility of professional athletes has been a hotly debated issue for as long as there have been professional sports. Specifically, players have long complained about the media's access to the locker room, so Matthews' remarks are nothing out of the ordinary.
Where Matthews veers off the beaten path is his comments about the fans. Strictly speaking, he's right that already have more accessible to players than ever. However, anytime an athlete says something that can be perceived as a slight against fans, he's opening himself up to considerable criticism. For a fan base that's quick to turn on perceived divas, Matthews words could be construed as an affront.
If Matthews is careful not to make anymore statements aimed at the fans, he'll likely evade any negative publicity. While many fans don't care about locker room access or off the field activities, there are always those who demand more from athletes. Whether appropriate or not, the NFL will do everything in its power to placate these fans in order to maximize profits. If Roger Goodell believes turning the locker room into a reality show is what the fans want, it's going to happen. Matthews will just have to keep his head down and let the camera focus on T.J. Lang.
So what do you think the Packers should do about locker room cameras? Cast your vote in our poll and sound off in the comments. And, of course, keep your browser locked on APC for more minicamp coverage.
Jason Hirschhorn covers the Green Bay Packers for Acme Packing Co. He has previously written for Lombardi Ave, College Hoops Net, LiveBall Sports, and the List Universe. He is also currently a senior writer for Beats Per Minute, an indie-music webzine. Follow him on Twitter: @JBHirschhorn