Of all sports jobs, sports media positions provide employees with the greatest access to athletes and events in order to allow for the best possible media coverage. With that access comes temptation, whether that’s hobnobbing with players, taking personal photos, and/or getting autographs for friends and family.
Working in sports media is a granted privilege and not a right. That up close access can be revoked in a moment’s notice if certain ethical boundaries are crossed.
In addition to common ethical standards in journalism related to plagiarism and sourcing, working in sports has its own unique rules because of the subjects being covered. Most media credentials clearly state that autographs and personal photos are not allowable under any circumstances and breaking this policy will lead to immediate revocation of the credential and expulsion from the property.
Seeing athletes behind the scenes is often a surreal experience but sports media personnel must remain professional and respectful of the athletes’ off the field space. Personal relationships developed as a result of the job are also generally prohibited.
Recently, headlines were made when Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Derek Lowe and Fox Sports Net report Carolyn Hughes became romantically involved in addition to their media professional-to-player relationship. Consequentially, Hughes was immediately terminated from her position with Fox Sports and it is safe to say that she will have an extremely difficult time finding another job as a television reporter. Sports media personnel must decide between the short term payoff and the long term consequences.