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Packers Nervous About Raji Reports

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Packers Nervous About Raji Reports

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:

Your buddy.

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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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (20) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

PackersRS's picture

So that's the reason Bedard has been reporting nothing but pessimistic notions about the team?

Astute Observer's picture

I trust Bedard 1,000% more than I trust the Packers. I've never met him myself nor probably ever will either, but I've found his reports accurate, and the Packers rarely much more than pure PR.

Jack Stark's picture

Maybe the Packers could reel Raji in by offering him a year's supply of chocolate-covered bacon on a stick (the buzz of the Wisconsin State Fair.)

Joe Mamma's picture

It goes back to this post

http://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/packers-dropping-the-ball-on-access

Packers want to control the information and they get annoyed when someone doesn't follow they're line.

mrj's picture

whose. I can't help it.

WoodyG's picture

Bedard can only 'shoot himself in the foot". (or is it thigh now ?)
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"There has been no progress in the Raji talks. Packers aren't going to do anything until No. 8 Eugene Monroe signs." ............ According to who ??
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Until Bedard starts sourcing his comments, he'll be a target. That's the risk he seems willing to take. .... Even Florio mentions a source every now & then.

bucky's picture

The issue comes down to this: who was Bedard's source for his story? Blumb is suggesting that it comes from the Raji camp which, if true, raises the additional question of "how would they know what the Packers' strategy is?" Bedard's original claim sure reads like it could have come from Raji, but your follow up ("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") suggests he has someone inside the Packers talking to him.

My take-If Bedard is willing to say that he got his info from a source within the Packer organization, then I'm with you. If he's not- then I think Blumb is right.

packeraaron's picture

bucky - Raji's camp would know the Packers' thinking if the Packers stated, in meeting w/his reps, flatly that they would be waiting on Monroe. That's not anything outlandish.
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Woody - journalists have always counted on sources that wish to remain unnamed. Take those away, and you may as well just close down news gathering organizations and rely solely on PR people to control all the messaging. No thanks.

WoodyG's picture

I'm not suggesting Bedard state a name, address, photo, criminal history or anything else about his source.
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What's wrong with the standard ..........According to my source with the team.....or According to an unnamed Exec with the team.... Or According to a unanimous source close to the team.
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Bedard's assertion is no more than a "fly on the wall" statement.... He has no source.... Why twit reality when you can make up stuff?

PackOne's picture

This is outstanding, Aaron.

bucky's picture

Aaron- that may be correct. But it is not quite what I've read so far. So maybe I've missed it- has Bedard stated that the Packers have informed Raji that they are waiting on Monroe?

Ron La Canne's picture

We havew finally found a replacement for the Bret stories. You have two journalists reporting on the same story with two slightly different takes. Who do you trust? Neither! It's highly likely they are hearing their sources comment on their personal percpectives of what is going on in the negotiations. The core of the story may be the same, but like the old "eye witness" game, it's likely that any number of people hearing the same story will transmitt different versions to the questioner. This is complicated even further by the "cone of silence" the Packers seem to love.

As much as I distrust TT, I can't think he would sit idlly by and wait for someone else to determine his position. I think TT hates negotiating and will do anything to avoid it. If he did get involved, I think this issue could be resolved sooner. To an agent, he represents the final word ffrom the organization.

CharlesMartinGraduates's picture

Paging Mr. Ari Fleischer...
Paging Mr. Ari Fleischer...
Please pick up the nearest Green and Gold courtesy phone.

Asshalo's picture

Interesting post. Blumb may also have information that Bedard doesn't. I don't necesarily disagree with what Bedard said, so much as how he said it. He was stating the Monroe accusation like it was fact, tweet or no tweet...maybe should have left it open a bit.

They're not the only team with hold-outs though, so my blame on th e oragnization is limited.

Speaking of shadyness though, did anyone get the news that Tommie Harris had off-season surgury. Why are the Bears just now reporting Harris' and Charles Tilman's surguries. It's similiar to Peyton Manning waiting until Aug. to tell everyone about his knee. What's the benefit in waiting that long to tell your fans? Seems cowardly to me

buckslayernyc's picture

Lets get back to the substance of the reporting shall we? OMG....if we are waiting on the cheapass Jaguars or the dumbass 49ers to sign their guy before we sign our....then I am ready for the strike. Lets just uncap this year and then forego it. Lets just level the entire structure and start from scratch.....

They say football is a business, you can not run a business this way...no way!

C.D. Angeli's picture

I suppose, in many ways, this is politics versus journalism. Public Relations is all about the public impression and controlling what people know and believe while running damage control.

Journalism is about reporting news, but also about selling copy (especially in the face of competition from internet sources *cough*). Just looking at every rumor mill from ESPN to PFT to even the local media, sometimes you have to make a story out of very limited (or unreliable) information.

So, who do you trust? I say you trust common sense. Raji isn't looking like he's coming anytime soon, and neither are the draft choices around him.

When the PR guys start sniping at the media, it usually means the media got them in a situation that can't refute without lying.

Ron La Canne's picture

Buck,
Such eloquence! Well said! I've always assumed when a team uses such a valuable asset as the first round pick is, they would have a plan to ensure none of the asset is wasted.

packeraaron's picture

"When the PR guys start sniping at the media, it usually means the media got them in a situation that can’t refute without lying." - This, to me, is the whole essence of the post above. I was just shocked at Blumb taking a public shot at Bedard. Look at who follows Blumb on Twitter - he may as well have said it in a room full of reporters...

FITZCORE1252's picture

JSO's reporting that BJ got on a plane today to Chicago... do you think that's a good sign???

GBP 4 LIFE

Ron La Canne's picture

Aaron, Marshmellow Boy, Justin Harrell, injured his back getting out of bed. Suffering back spasams and can't practice. Unknown how long he'll be out. This should give Raji's agent another $4 million added to the guarenteed part of the contract.

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