Here’s one of the forms the Miami Heat is requiring media members to fill out if they want to cover the team during training camp:
The form requires a social security number, driver’s license number, date of birth, and other sensitive personal info.
(Sorry gang, no web access inside the gym either)
So why does the Heat need that information from a media member?
Pat Riley has decided to hold training camp on a military base, and such information is apparently required for anyone who is on the base.
Why would Riley hold training camp in a location that required such personal information merely to cover team practices? In talking to a couple longtime NBA reporters, one of whom is based in Miami, here’s what I was told:
1) The Heat thought they could weed out a lot of national media who just wanted the week on South Beach.
2) The team hotel is on-base, so TMZ-types can’t get to them.
3) Riley is selling the idea of sacrifice and team and using the military guys there as a backdrop.
4) See 1 and 2 again.
While I understand why the military feels the need to require such personal info from media members, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for longtime, well-known Miami and national reporters to be exempted from providing such sensitive, personal information.
If you’ve been covering the NBA for many years, should you really have to give the Heat your social security number and drivers license number to watch practice?
I have an email into the Heat asking if it requested an exemption to that effect for longtime, legitimate media members.* (Update, see below.)
I must admit, it’s a brilliant move by Riley to stage camp on a military base in order to mitigate early media coverage of the team and potentially muffle possible distractions. But what about the recognized media pros who are there to cover basketball?
UPDATE: Miami Heat Vice President of Sports Media Relations Tim Donovan responded to my question about exempting media members from giving out personal info at the training camp site:
“I asked about that and was told by the military that EVERYONE (HEAT included) has to submit info.”