The Green Bay Packers, specifically team spokesman and Director of Public Relations Jeff Blumb, are extremely sensitive to the reporting on the holdout of Packers first round pick B.J. Raji - so much so that Blumb has called into question the professionalism of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Packers beat writer Greg A. Bedard.
Yesterday's news on Raji started with Pete Dougherty's article in the Green Bay Press Gazette which gave us the following:
The Green Bay Packers’ contract negotiations with the agent for B.J. Raji got closer Sunday, a source familiar with the talks said, though it’s unclear if the first-round draft pick is anywhere near signing a deal.
Then, around 11am edt, Bedard Tweeted the following:
There has been no progress in the Raji talks. Packers aren't going to do anything until No. 8 Eugene Monroe signs
Which was followed a few hours later by this cryptic Tweet from Blumb:
Sometimes I wonder if people know they're getting played or if they're letting themselves be played in the interest of future benefit.
Naturally, that piqued my curiosity. I asked Blumb via Twitter who he meant, not ever expecting to get a response.
And then, last night, I got a response:
Needless to say, I was pretty sure he didn't mean Corey.
Where to start...
First of all, I need to be clear on a few points. First off, Jeff Blumb has been more than generous and fair in his (admittedly limited) dealings with Cheesehead TV. Secondly, while Greg Bedard and I have become somewhat familiar to each other via his guest appearances on our show, email correspondence on any number of topics, and the occasional Twitter battle, I have never met him and would not categorize him as a "buddy".
With that out of the way, let's look at why the Packers would be so sensitive to Bedard's claim.
My hunch is that Dougherty's 'source' came from within the Packers' organization (trust me, this is common practice in the PR business. "Just say 'A person familiar...'"is a common phrase you'll hear PR people say to reporters on the phone) No doubt the Packers wanted it to appear to the public that talks were moving forward when in fact they were going nowhere. Bedard's seemingly innocuous report flew in the face of the story the Packers were trying to tell. Indeed, when I asked Bedard if he stood by his report that the team was waiting on the Monroe signing, he didn't hesitate to respond that that was one hundred percent accurate.
Now, the Packers would have us believe that Bedard is either a) too stupid to know an agent is feeding him bullshit or b) willingly and knowingly reporting false information that is 'sourced' from Raji's camp with the promise of future access to the player. Either way, it's a shocking accusation for the head of PR to be making of a reporter that regularly covers the team. I mean, if you wanted to write a book about how to destroy a journalists' reputation, that would be the final and largest chapter...right before the protagonist went to work for ESPN.
So where does that leave us? Nowhere near a resolution when it comes to getting Raji into camp. It does, however, leave us with the impression that the Packers are getting nervous and ready to lash out at anyone who dares to suggest that maybe, just maybe, the Packers are part of the problem here, no matter whose professional reputation they leave in their wake.
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