As perhaps noticed first by our own Aaron Nagler, the Green Bay Packers have prohibited the use of video recording by fans at this year's training camp.
When exactly this policy went into effect is unclear. The Packers did not alert media in a press release, perhaps fearful of the negative publicity they would receive.
This does, however, mark a change in policy from previous years when fans were not subject to such restrictions.
According to the "Attending Practice" sub-section on the team's Training Camp website:
Video recording devices (including cell phones as recording devices) and still cameras with lenses more than 12 inches long are prohibited at practice. Fans are welcome to use still photo camera (with lenses less than 12 inches in length) for your personal enjoyment. Commercial use of any photos taken at practice is prohibited.
This news comes on the heels of the release of the team's training camp schedule release in which they reduced the amount of training camp practices open to the public by three compared to the previous season.
Coming from a writer of fan-run website, the Packers would be wise to re-visit their roots as a community-owned organization that has relied on taxpayers to renovate Lambeau Field and its fanbase to buy stock in the team.
This isn't to suggest the Packers are ignorant of their fans. Many initiatives they've undertaken in the past and are currently doing so at Lambeau Field—such as the atrium's renovation to include an expanded Pro Shop and a more accessible Hall of Fame—are mindful of the fan experience.
However, the team's attitude toward social media in general and fan video at training camp in particular comes off as tone deaf.
The Packers organization is failing to recognize the important role of social media to today's fan that wants share with friends video of their pilgrammage to Packers training on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Vine and Snapchat to name a few.
If the Packers think they'll be at a competitive disadvantage due to some fan's video being dispersed on the Internet—and presumably available to opponents—they're overestimating the impact and would be advised to focus on more important aspects of coaching pedagogy, player development and training techniques that will have a greater influence on their success.
Consider this two steps forward and one step back by the Packers organization. Unfortunately, it doesn't have to be that way.
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