Update: 8:30 AM
Jeff McLane is the top NFL beat writer at the city’s paper of record, so of course it stands to reason that in the second half of the final game of the Eagles season, the Eagles PR crew would kick McLane out of the press box.
Les Bowen, McLane’s colleague over at the Daily News and Philly.com, live tweeted the whole exchange, stating that McLane and other reporters were trying to figure out a penalty when the Eagles PR staff admonished them for being too loud. McLane, per Bowen, voiced his displeasure with the edict, then walked over to the PR staffer to talk out the incident. Then, per those in the press box, McLane was asked to leave.
McLane told his newspaper that his discussion with Eagles brass was “a slight argument, but nothing out of the ordinary.”
McLane has not tweeted since the incident, but his colleagues have taken up the mantle for him, directly ripping the Eagles and executive Anne Gordon, seen in the photo above. Gordon was a former managing editor at the Inky, McLane’s paper. Pardon the pun, but you can’t write this.
Gordon later told the paper that McLane was flouting a “well-understood code of conduct” inside the press area while talking with the team.
Beat writers in NFL stadiums around the country took to McLane’s defense.
Here’s the whole story from Bowen.
Gordon seemed unconcerned about media backlash, telling reporters who disagreed with the decision that they’d be next.
We have emails in to the Eagles for comment and the Inquirer as well as a request via Twitter to McLane. We will update this post when we hear more.
Update: Per the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s PR rep, McLane is busy working on his story about today’s game and is unavailable for comment.
Update #2: Inky SVP/Executive Editor Stan Wischnowski told Billy Penn in a statement sent via email, “We find the actions taken by the Eagles media relations staff to be extremely disappointing and unprofessional. Jeff has spent eight years covering the Eagles exhaustively in a fair, accurate and thorough manner. He’s never missed a game or a press conference.”
Update #3: Inquirer Editor Bill Marimow, in an email to Billy Penn, agreed with Wischnowski, adding: “Jeff is an excellent reporter, who covers the Eagles with passion and precision. There had to have been a more reasonable way to address the situation other than ejecting him and threatening to eject others.”
Update #4: the updated Philly.com report states that Zach Groen, an Eagles PR coordinator in the press box, told reporters they were too loud, when McLane and others “snapped back” at Groen. The Eagles staff, per the report, said McLane told Groen to “shut up,” a claim McLane denied.
McLane resumed tweeting after the game, reaching out to players via text.