Camera access in Jazz, visitor's locker rooms to be limited
Microphones also won't around for tonight's game
Last time the Jazz played a nationally televised game on a major cable network, Jerry Sloan swore at halftime. Thanks to an ESPN production blunder, the entire viewing nation oops heard.
Sloan's penchant for cussing shouldn't go public this time at least not when the longtime Jazz coach is in the privacy of his team's own locker room.
That's because, according to team and league spokesmen, there will be no cameras or microphones in either the home locker room or the visitor's locker room at EnergySolutions Arena for Utah's TNT-televised game tonight against the Phoenix Suns.
Both Sloan and Suns coach Mike D'Antoni, however, will be required to wear microphones during game play.
The Jazz wouldn't say if the locker room exclusion is a direct resulting of lobbying by the franchise for the league to make up for its error when Sloan's naughty word got out last time, or if it's mere coincidence.
Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor has been dealing with NBA officials regarding the situation, Sloan said, and TNT has had no input in the matter, according to network spokesman Jeff Pomeroy.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank, however, said league officials have been working with the NBA Coaches Association on the issue of TV access.
One result of those discussions, Frank suggested, is a cutback in the number of times cameras and microphones will be imbedded in locker rooms.
Previously, plans for this season had called for all games televised nationally by the league's major broadcast partners ABC, ESPN and TNT to include locker room coverage.
"This just happens to be one of those games that was deleted," Frank said.
Sloan, for his part, sounded less than appeased.
"No," he grumbled when asked if he felt any better.
His beef is that league officials assured him no swearing would go public, yet it happened anyway.
Sloan's bad word beginning with 'f' was uttered during halftime of the Jazz's Dec. 12 loss at Phoenix.
A chat to the team began with Sloan demanding that his players exhibit more toughness. The Jazz coach could later be heard quietly saying how much time remained on the clock until the second half, with a seven-letter expletive preceding the words "four minutes."
An ESPN representative waited at the Jazz's team bus after the game to meet with Sloan, explain what happened and apologize.
Nearly a month later, the salty-tongued Jazz coach still was fuming.
"How can you trust what somebody told you, and then all of a sudden it goes the other way on you?" he asked Wednesday. "I mean, I'm, I guess, the guy that has to swallow my thoughts on it."
Rather than swallow, however, Sloan proceeded to chew out those responsible.
"I was promised," he said. "They said, 'You don't have one thing to worry about ... There's not going to be one thing that's going to be a problem.' So, where you go?"
Beyond access to strategy, which is supposed to be banned by a league censor working with the network, one of Sloan's major concerns is that what he says to (and, presumably, about) certain individuals might be made public.
"Sometimes you make comments, maybe, to the official, you wouldn't like heard," he said.
If the NBA demands that he wear the microphone during play, Sloan said, he will abide by the orders.
"It's what you have to do, I guess," he said. "The rules are the rules."
Not that he especially likes the rule.
"There's more and more access to everything we do," said Sloan, who some may believe began coaching the Jazz before microphones were invented."Some people ... want us to be involved in everything. That's not bad, probably, to a certain extent," he added. "But you kind of feel invaded, a little bit, as far as coaching is concerned."
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