As media members, we often complain about accessibility. We always want just to have one more minute with the coach and to be just one step closer to the action.
On Wednesday night, I realized things could be worse. You could try interviewing a major sports figure in Lee County.
It’s common for sports reporters to huddle around a coach when he speaks. Most print reporters use tape recorders and TV reporters use video and audio equipment. The closer you are to a subject, the clearer the quote or the sound byte. It’s part of doing our jobs.
But as I stepped forward to interview to Florida coach Urban Meyer before his Southwest Florida Gator club speaking engagement, or at least introduce myself after braving a two-hour afternoon drive through the rain, I was met with a stern instruction from a pair of Lee County Sheriff’s deputies. “Behind the red line,” one deputy ordered, which was more than five feet away.
Even Meyer, who has been used to being huddled by the media during his four-plus years as Florida coach, got a chuckle out of what was going on.
“You better listen to her,” Meyer quipped, pointing at one of the female sheriff’s deputies. “She’s packing heat.”