After the 2013 NFC Championship game, sports reporter Erin Andrews interviewed Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. Sherman was enthusiastic to say the least, and has led to media controversy.

I heard that there is a rule in place in the NFL such that media can only approach players after a certain amount of time has passed after the game. Moreover, players could be fined for not participating in media sessions.

What is the proper etiquette when a sports reporter interviews a player after a game? Although my focus is on the NFL, I am also interested in hearing about how other sports deal with media in this regard.

2 Answers 2


I was interested in this question after I read it, as I often wondered the same thing. There are definitely those players that use the media and use it as a tool to smack-talk other teams, and then there are those players that use the media as a tool to build team chemistry and compliment the work done by not only themselves but also their teammates. A quote that I found that hopefully helps is,

"Players must be available to the media following every game and regularly during the practice week as required under league rules and their contracts and as noted above. It is not permissible for any group of players to boycott the media. Star players with heavy media demands must be available to the media that regularly cover their teams at least once during the practice week in addition to their required post-game media availability. This applies to a maximum of one or two players per team only. The minimum for such players of one practice-week availability to local media does not include other required media obligations such as visiting team conference calls, network production meetings, and national media interviews arranged by the team."

The source for this quote is http://www.profootballwriters.org/nfl-media-policy/ if you want to further investigate the media policies of the NFL. Hope this helps.

  • So, as long as players are available to media once a week and post-game, they can use the media and communicate as they please? Overall, good answer...just wanted to emphasize "etiquette" and you address that in how players use the media.
    – user527
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 13:44
  • I do not think I found anything specific about "etiquette" when talking to the press. Obviously what they say/do will determine their public appearance, but other than that I do not think that there are any guidelines or rules other than those that the Media use (such as swearing, obscene gestures, etc.). In the case of Richard Sherman, some say he has a horrible public appearance because of the things he said in his interview with Skip Bayless, which can be viewed here youtube.com/watch?v=j6x-O3kb1sI .
    – Lilnonie
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 14:46

I can speak to athletics/track and field, the sport I sometimes cover.

Most events at a professional level and NCAA events at the national level require athletes to pass through a "mixed zone" after competition. This is (usually) a divided space with athletes on one side of a barrier and reporters on the other. This is where post-competition interviews happen.

At major international events (e.g. World Championships, Olympics) there are distinct sections of the mixed zone for TV, radio, and written media. This often means an athlete like Usain Bolt will have done multiple TV and radio interviews before arriving at the written press mixed zone. In cases like this the athlete is often removed to a press conference room to answer questions in a larger setting.

In smaller meets, it's up to the reporter to buttonhole the athlete they want to speak to, although there is often a meet media manager on hand to make sure reporters speak to the athletes they want. There are no formal requirements of the athletes, although talking to the press is an unwritten aspect of professionalism and good agents/sponsors will encourage their athletes to do so. The athletes, who have just completed a sometimes-grueling competition and are sometimes disappointed in their performance, can be unmotivated to talk and will escape if they can. On the other hand, there are classy athletes who respect the role of the press and will stand and talk as long as there are questions, regardless of their disappointment and/or fatigue. And winners are almost always easy to talk to.

I've almost never run in to an athlete in this sport whose etiquette while speaking to the press is questionable, but that's not to say it doesn't happen.

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