The NFL has again made its wishes clear to Fox, CBS, and NBC that their reporters not tip picks during the NFL Draft broadcast, The Big Lead has learned. Last year, the NFL circulated a letter plainly requesting a directive in this regard; it is unknown to us this year whether they did that again, or whether the message was passed along more informally. Nonetheless, the effect will more or less be the same.
ESPN and NFL Network have gone on record that their reporters will not tip picks on social media (but will report on trades). It makes sense for them to seek to preserve the mystery of their television product. The request is a little different for network partners that aren’t televising the Draft, but who largely adhered to what read as an edict last year.
Last April, league vice president of broadcasting Howard Katz sent a letter to CBS, Fox Sports, and NBC Sports heads Sean McManus, Eric Shanks, and Mark Lazarus which read, in part:
As network partners of the NFL, we encourage and appreciate your coverage of the Draft in Chicago this year and ask for your cooperation with this approach. Please have your reporters and other personnel refrain from revealing picks on social media or other platforms before they are announced in the Draft broadcasts.
In 2013, Mike Florio conducted an audience poll, which determined his readers overwhelmingly did not want him to tip picks. They voted similarly last year. Jay Glazer will be live on Fox Sports Radio doing instant analysis of the Draft tonight; this is what he said last year about tipping picks:
Until last year, when he appeared on a CBS online draft show, Jason La Canfora tipped picks. In 2013 and 2014, he received backlash for it in his mentions. He did not respond to a text message seeking comment today.
In the NBA Draft over the years, Adrian Wojnarowski routinely is several picks ahead of the television program, and has been unapologetic about it:
The way I look at Twitter is this: I know people argue about, you should somehow defer to a television show. The draft is a ceremony. And the decision to draft the guy has already been made. So the news is already there. Would I wait for a team to announce they signed a free agent or announce they made a trade? No. My job is to break it. If I do that, what do they need me for? I don’t care about their television show. It’s a competitor. What do I care? I hope it complicates things. I don’t care. That’s their problem. Not mine.
The fact of the matter is, even if reporters from league-affiliated broadcast networks do not tip picks, if you’re on Twitter you’re asking to have the information find you. Team-specific reporters and/or independents are going to put it out there, and someone you follow will find it and retweet.