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Super Bowl coach sets guidelines for interviews with star player

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    NMU         FLORIDA         Newsgathering         Jan 23, 2001    

Super Bowl coach sets guidelines for interviews with star player

  • While accusing the media of sensationalism, the Baltimore Ravens head coach told the media a player’s involvement in a fatal fight was off limits after one day.

The days preceding the Super Bowl are carefully scripted from the teams’ arrivals to press conferences to practices to the pregame introductions. On Jan. 22, the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens added another line to the orchestration by announcing to the assembled media that his star defensive player, Ray Lewis, will speak to them for one day only about the murder accusations he faced 12 months ago.

Brian Billick, the Ravens head coach, accused the media of sensationalizing the events surrounding Lewis since his involvement in a fight outside a night club following last year’s Super Bowl in Atlanta. Two men died in a brawl and police dropped the murder charges against the 25-year-old Lewis, who pled guilty to a misdemeanor of obstruction of justice. Two of Lewis’ friends were acquitted of murder charges.

Billick instructed the media that Lewis would answer questions for one hour on Jan. 23, the annual media day. At the event, the players typically sit in a folding chair beneath a sign bearing their name. Reporters roam freely interviewing player after player. The head coach also advised the other Raven players not to talk about the murder charges faced by their teammate, the NFL defensive player of the year.

According to published reports from the Jan. 22 press conference, Billick told the media, “I have the podium, and you all are here to listen to me,” when asked about his authority to set these guidelines.


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© 2001 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

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