Can Reporters Be “Squealers?”

May 29th, 2013

There’s been loads of local and national buzz today surrounding the possibility that the Bucs broke NFL-mandated, no-contact rules at a recent OTA practice. got the ball rolling this morning jumping on Tampa Tribune beat writer Roy Cummings’ comments during an interview last week on 98.7 FM. Cummings explained that he saw hitting that may have crossed a line that could get the Bucs in hot water with the NFL.

“It’s football practice, without pads,” Cummings said.  “I’ll tell you what, Greg Schiano is right on the border of getting investigated and possibly — I don’t know if they would fine him, I don’t know what the penalty is — but these guys are out there, they’re hitting. . . .  There’s no pads on, but I’m telling you, the linemen, these guys are hitting.  People are going down on the ground.  And it’s interesting.  I mean, most of this was second- and third-team guys, it wasn’t the front-line guys.  So there’s a little bit of what Jon Gruden used to call ‘practice etiquette’ that I think has to be learned here, but they’re going at it pretty good.”

Cummings pointed to the Zuttah-Spence fight, and said it was a 22-man “melee” that “went on for a while” — all due to the fact that there was contact between the linemen.

“I can’t imagine it’s being ordered, I think it’s just guys being a little overzealous, trying to earn a spot,” Cummings added.  “And that’s part of what this part of the season is about.”

Were Cummings’ comments out of line in any way?

Did they break an unwritten code between the Bucs and the reporters that cover them?

The dean of Tampa Bay sports radio, Steve Duemig of WDAE-AM 620, believes they did.

This afternoon, Duemig called out Cummings for sharing negative speculation on whether the Bucs are rule-breakers. Duemig said he’s no fan of media “squealers” when they’re “ratting out” the home team for no good reason.

“There are things that you report, and there are things that you don’t report. Am I wrong here?” Duemig asked his audience.

Duemig says he believes reporters need to exercise judgment with their reporting and speculation because comments like Cummings’ can cause the Bucs to limit access for all media. “When given the opportunity, why ruin it?” Duemig asked. “For crying out loud, there are some things you keep to yourself if you know it’s borderline. I believe in reporting, but in some cases when you’re allowed to watch practice  … why ruin it?”

Now Joe’s a friend of Cummings and Duemig. Joe’s not taking a side here. It’s just a great debate that intrigues Joe.

Two years ago, Joe came under fire from Duemig and some fans for being a “rat” after reporting that Raheem Morris communicated with Buccaneers during the lockout. The NFL eventually punished the Bucs. Joe understood and respected Duemig’s point of view. There are observations about teams and comments from team members that all reporters leave unsaid/unwritten.

Joe also gets that Cummings simply suggested the Bucs are pushing the limits of NFL practice rules and was relaying his observations of practice — a practice the Bucs invited him to report on. Yes, the Bucs could get punished and lose valuable practice time. However, Cummings shedding light on the situation could prevent injuries and subsequently help the Bucs.

Reporters are constantly deciding what to report and what not to, and sometimes there is a greater good that is considered.

Can reporters be “squealers?” It’s an interesting question.

54 Responses to “Can Reporters Be “Squealers?””

  1. the_buc_realist Says:

    yes they can, so don’t be surprised when teams give reporters less access. Besides, its the Bucs were talking about. They need every edge and help that they can get. After finishing 4th, 3rd 4th and 4th in the Division, you would think that Cummings would be happy that the team is actually practicing. But Cummings got media attention so he is happy. A Happy Rat!

  2. lightningbuc Says:

    “For crying out loud, there are some things you keep to yourself”

    Like, for instance, the Glazers are selling the team to the Debartolos

  3. RIs_Buc Says:

    snitches get stitches…

  4. Couch Fan Says:


    Do you always got to point out how bad we’ve been in every single article? Even if the article has nothing to do with past success/failure? sometimes its called for but dam man, you really are just constantly negative. I’m pretty sure everyone who reads this articles knows exactly what our record has been and where we’ve finished in our division lately. Sometimes its called for but at least keep that for the right articles.

    Anyways, about the actual article. Schiano knows the rules. Let him conduct the OTA’s I think reporters should stick to reporting facts from the players, not there silly opinion on whether there was borderline rule breaking going on. Common sense tells you that can’t lead to anything good.

  5. Keith Says:

    I lean more toward Duemig here, but the Trib isn’t paying Cummings to keep quiet. Both sides are OK here, i believe

  6. WestCoastBucsFan Says:

    I doubt reporters actually have an effect on discipline. There almost HAS to be some NFL official at these practices, reporting what they see back to the Warden. If the Bucs do get disciplined then it was probably going to happen regardless of Cumming’s report. Who knows?

    It sure seemed, in Schiano’s press conference, that there is a lot of touching allowed at these practices based on the instructional videos he watched and league meetings he attended. Just no hitting or tackling really.

  7. J 2.0 Says:

    Cummings didn’t phrase it the right way. Reporters should be able to report what is deemed news.

  8. WestCoastBucsFan Says:

    @Couch Fan

    He is just looking for attention (just like Shaun King). You are feeding him when you acknowledge him.

    He really is pathetic though.

  9. BigSombrero Says:

    Joe, in your situation you reported something factual and definitive. I didn’t like it but its your job so it is what it is. In Cummings case, he speculated about rules possibly being broken without actually knowing if they were or not. Thats just dumb on his part. No way around it. He didn’t know if any rules were actually being violated yet he floated it out there for the bigger news sites to grab a hold of and run with. I feel like this is eerily similar to Mark Cooks Penn comments. He speculated without having the full story and it opened the door for the National media to sink their claws in and spin it however they wanted to. If you had a problem with the Penn situation then you should have an issue with this one.

  10. marty Says:

    Cummings states he does not actually know the rules. Given that, why would he formulate much less report an opinion on the matter ? It is not just irresponsible, it is unprofessional.

  11. Horice Says:

    I do agree with the Big Dog on this one. I do not agree when you say it can save an injury, when the NFL practiced harder and longer in recent years past. I cannot fathom why any local reporter would stifle the local teams progress by getting the Coach in trouble by reporting the infraction. That would be like your friend having 1 drink and driving home, do you rush to the phone and call the cops? Many would argue that your doing the right thing, however you wouldn’t be too popular around your other friends.

  12. Esikeil Says:

    Reporters have an obligation to tell the truth. People that want to hang a reporter for telling the truth are idiots. Truth, if we like it or not, should be applauded.

  13. Oldguy Says:

    “Can reporters be squealers?” Do reporters have a code of ethics? Surely you jest.

  14. BigSombrero Says:

    @Esikeil – I agree, but like I said, Cummings didn’t report any facts, he speculated while admittedly not knowing the rules. Big difference.

  15. Vic Says:

    You people are nuts. Is Cummings not permitted to give his opinion during a radio interview?

    This isn’t Russia people. Cummings gave a clean opinion of what he saw with his own eyes. Get real.

  16. Joe Says:

    This isn’t Russia people.

    The IRS and Department of Justice think otherwise. 🙁

  17. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I think it’s technically ok if he wants to do that, but an incredibly dumb move when it comes to using common sense. Does he not realize that he has probably killed the chances of reporters being able to view practices in the future? I’ve often wondered why teams don’t allow the media to observe practices, yet now I completely understand why. I doubt he did it for any other reason than just not using common sense, but if I were Schiano that would be it for the media observing practices. Now he has to do interviews and take question after question defending himself, which I’m pretty sure he hates.

  18. Brad Says:

    It’s an easy answer.. Yes . You did it, Cummings did it. It’s reckless reporting and taking a privilege and going to far. I agreed with the Big Dog then (when this site was reckless) and I agree with him now. It’s ridiculous that local media gets its own home team in trouble .. You guys aren’t working for the NFL or NFLPA so quit making the news and just report on it when it’s needed.

  19. the_buc_realist Says:

    ^^^^^thanks for repeating what i said Hawaiian^^^^^

  20. Eric Says:

    Setting aside the reporting, I’ll bet Lombardi would be disgusted that football teams can’t practice football anymore.

    I sometimes wonder if the extra restrictions actually end up causing more injuries during games, cause guys don’t learn to protect themselves and technique suffers.

  21. Architek Says:

    Cummings just have to live with the backlash. He made the decision to report now he has to own. No doubt he will will get shunned in the lockeroom. Poor decision imo.

  22. Joe Says:

    Does he not realize that he has probably killed the chances of reporters being able to view practices in the future?

    The NFL — not the Bucs — regulate how much time reporters can watch practice. If the NFL reduces time for the Bucs, they would also have to do the same for other teams. Per NFL rules, at least one OTA practice per week has to be open to media.

    The NFL changing it’s media policy over Cummings is highly unlikely to occur. The NFL LOVES the attention, which equates to more articles, more chatter or radio, more awareness and, yes, more dollars spent on its product.

  23. chris Says:

    Um, forgive me if I’m wrong here, but didn’t Baltimore included with 8 other teams reportedly doing the same thing last OTAs and mini camps?

    This may seem like real “hitting” to reportters, but these guys are pro football players. I’m srue they don’t see it as what will take place in July.

  24. Architek Says:

    No its not Russia but I tell you he have to own this decision he made. Joe is no exception and he had to own it. The difference is Joe is a brand and Cumming’s brand is himself. Thats why I would have a passed.

  25. TimBukTwo@OneBucPalace Says:

    What reporters do, is sway public opinion. By reporting that Schiano is orchestrating a no holds bar knock down drag out during the rookie OTA’s gives some uninformed fans (of course not JoeBucFan readers) a negative view on our coach, our GM, and our Organization. Not to mention puts us in the cross hairs for league intervention. There are several Tampa Bay reporters who don’t seem to care about the Organizations public perception and we all know who they are. Most have talk radio shows. Jones, Cummings, Stroud. Bunch of loud mouths that like to hear themselves talk.

  26. Joe Says:


    I’ll bet Lombardi would be disgusted that football teams can’t practice football anymore.

    I sometimes wonder if the extra restrictions actually end up causing more injuries during games, cause guys don’t learn to protect themselves and technique suffers.

    Pat Kirwan predicted when the new CBA was signed you’d see a dramatic increase in Achilles injuries because of reduced practice time.

    Joe sort of thinks Kirwan was dead on correct.

  27. Andrew 1 Says:

    yea cause Cummings made that report for the greater good…give me a break. reports will say/do anything to get some added recognition, like being the first one to call out the team their covering. I bet Cummings thinks this makes him look like some kind of hero or something. well Great work Cummings! we’re now going to have a big ceremony in your honor and give you your official heros badge… we’ll even throw in a key to the city!

    if you couldnt tell already I’m with Duemig on this one. Cummings should have kept his big mouth shut. since hes a report im sure his knows this “code” that Joe speaks of. you Just shot yourself in your own foot Cummings cause now the bucs are going to take away what little open practices you had, not to mention pissing off the team that you have to work with day in and day out.

    my post didnt go through the fist time so hope it works this time

  28. BigSombrero Says:

    @Hawaiian – Excellent post and I agree 100% especially in that Cummings didn’t say it to make headlines, he just didn’t think before he spoke. He wildly speculated and then basically admitted he didn’t know what he was talking about. Doesn’t sound like a guy with malicious intent against the Bucs, just a bad mistake.

    Probably a double post here. Sorry in advance.

  29. Joe Says:

    Let’s be honest here, if Cummings wanted to “squeal,” he could have alerted both the NFL and NFLPA in New York last week.

    In this case, he answered a question honestly on a night time Tampa radio show.

    Shoot, it wasn’t even in the Tampa Tribune!


  30. PRBucFan Says:


    Yes, but couldn’t Schiano just choose what he shows the media on that day or what type of practice is run?

    That’s a genuine Q, if in fact he does than he can indeed just run something remedial while the media is there or whatever or just something that really doesn’t appeal to them necessarily? Lol

  31. Joe Says:

    Yes, but couldn’t Schiano just choose what he shows the media on that day or what type of practice is run?

    You don’t think he doesn’t already do that? 🙂 The first 30 minutes of practice (when cameras are allowed) it’s mostly conditioning drills.

    Schiano wasn’t born yesterday. He’s a smart cookie.

  32. PRBucFan Says:

    Either way whether he meant to or not, both the NFL and the NFLPA were alerted assuming they read the piece though lol.

    Oh wells, lets hope nothing comes of it

  33. PRBucFan Says:

    Yes, but I guess what I am saying is that being the “smart cookie’ he is I’m sure he can figure out a way to make it even less exciting if he indeed really wanted to. Just a thought.

  34. crazy Says:

    A reporter who doesn’t know enough to tell us the whole story isn’t reporting news, he’s gossiping. News editors used to know the difference.

  35. jfgobucs Says:

    I sure he’ll be the first to get his questions answered…Geeezz

  36. PRBucFan Says:

    And thanks Joe, I said “yes, but” but I appreciate informing me how he does things for you media already. Didn’t know that.

  37. Jimmy Says:

    Well, at least Cummings isn’t lying and making sh!t up like a player is too fat to play (Penn) or that a player is going to jail (Talib).

  38. Bucsanity Says:

    Cummings did nothing out of line or out of bounds. WTF? Duemig’s off the mark.

  39. Pirate Says:

    I agree with Duemig, but I don’t think squealer applies here. If anything, Cummings bringing this to light helps my beloved Bucs stay healthy and withing the rules.

  40. Bucfansouthtampa Says:

    I don’t like my reporters censoring themselves. We have enough of that in this country. Cummings saw it, so he talked about it. I’m sure the Bucs don’t care, nor should they if they have nothing to hide.

  41. Marlow Says:

    It’s football, shut up about it! Only report what is necessary! We do not need any BS derailing this season!

  42. Bobby Says:

    Look, this is much ado about nothing. IF Schiano had orchestrated the contact then there would be an issue but if a fight breaks out and contact ensues…that is hardly the fault of Schiano. The NFL is looking for violations like contact in practices that is sanctioned and encouraged by the coaching staff.

  43. Joe Says:

    One last item for Joe to document:

    Each and every snap of each and every practice is recorded by multiple cameras and multiple angles. Does anyone really believe Schiano — with a gaggle of reporters watching — would conduct an illegal practice which is recorded, therefore incriminating both himself and the team?

    Additionally, each NFL practice of OTAs have NFL officials (referees) there, too, who would “squeal” on the Bucs a helluva lot better than Cummings every could.

  44. Keith Says:

    Yes, Joe, I do believe Schiano would have his players push the limits of legal in a practice session to get an edge. Every great coach will take every inch given to him. His mentor is Belicheat, as you well know.

  45. DomsAdvisor Says:

    Heard this on ESPN tonight… they all laughed at the fact that a media reporter squealed on their own team.

    Perhaps Woody Cummings hates the Bucs? Or hates that Schiano is the coach?

    Woody is known to have beef with coaches in the past. When Jon Gruden was here, Woody actually wrote an article comparing Jon Gruden to George Bush to try to tap into that hatred of that ilk.

    Woody is bias to the extreme… only Shaun King tops him in Tampa.

    So you should ask… is Woody Cummings even a Bucs fan?

  46. BigMacAttack Says:

    I like and respect Rot Cummings and he has an awesome hairdo. I don’t condemn him for this but I would have went to Cosch Schiano with the information before I disclosed it publicly. When it’s border line like this a Heads Up to the Coach first would have been the right thing in my opinion. Schiano would then have the opportunity to either tone it down or tell Roy to release it. I think it would have gone a long way with Coach and maybe even opened more doors at 1 Buc for Cummings.

    I tell my kids something my Grandpa taught me as a kid. “Think about what you’re going to say before you say it. What will it sound like coming out of your mouth and who will it effect.” Once you say it or do it, time goes on and you can never get it back. I wonder if Roy is already regretting this decision. It’s all about unwritten codes as said and Saving Face. Good People make mistakes and covering a friend’s butt in a pinch is invaluable.

    Roy really didn’t do anything wrong but he didn’t do anything right either.

    Does that make Sense???

  47. BuccoBill Says:

    Reporters say they’re just doing their job but it is a job that they chose to do. You can’t tell me that they don’t like being the little bitch on the playground with the big mouth. Us readers don’t help either though. We eat up their dirty laundry. Reporters have a wing reserved for them in Hell, right down the hall from the lawyers and politicians. Just sayin’!

  48. IdahoBucsfan Says:

    It was just plain stupid.

  49. Raphael Says:

    Woody would sellout anybody to look good……what a sleaze .

    I would lmao if Schiano said no more woody at Buc practice.

  50. PRBucFan Says:

    wise words BigMac

  51. scubog Says:

    It’s one thing for Cummings to report that the Bucs are practicing hard and pushing the envelope of the physical limitations. It’s another thing to say that Schiano is teetering on being investigated or fined. That, coupled with some of the kneel down play tactics, perpetuates the national perception that our coach is some sort of tyrant. Many do seem to love our tyrants lately.

  52. Tim Says:

    I hope the Bucs just start revoking press passes to idiots that do not have the common sense needed to have access to a team. You will never hear a NE, NY or even a lowly AR reporter write anything of this type. Why draw negative attention.

  53. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Of course they can…that’s what they get paid to do.

    But in this case, Cummings turned nothing into controversy. His report was misleading. THAT’s why he deserves to be punished.

  54. JB69 Says:

    Cummings should be barred from one buc until he prints an apology. His hit shows his heart is not with the home team.