Real Salt Lake explains decision not to credential columnist Gordon Monson
Real Salt Lake issued a statement to explain their controversial decision to not credential a local columnist for Saturday’s game against the New England Revolution.
On Saturday, The Salt Lake Tribune published a story saying that Real Salt Lake, the city’s local MLS team, decided not to issue a credential to one of the paper’s columnists, Gordon Monson. In response, The Tribune said they were scaling back their coverage of the game by not sending out their beat writer and photographer to cover the game in-person.
“Real Salt Lake’s move to control how The Tribune covers the team by denying news media access to one of our sports columnists is unacceptable,” Tribune editor Terry Orme said. “RSL management and ownership does not get to pick and choose reporters.
“Because they have excluded a Tribune staffer from game coverage, for the time being we will cover the team without the media credentials provided by RSL,” said Orme.
The Tribune’s story said Real Salt Lake told the newspaper on Friday that Monson was not going to be given a credential because they club was unhappy with a couple of columns Monson had written about team owner Dell Loy Hansen last season. They further said Monson being credentialed to the team’s season opening game and for the season was done in error.
Real Salt Lake issued a statement in response to the story. In their response, Real Salt Lake cites Monson’s work with Spence Checketts, the son of the team’s former owner, on the radio. They believe that has led to a bias that shows up on Monson’s newspaper articles:
— Alexi Lalas (@AlexiLalas) July 17, 2016
Real Salt Lake denied trying to control news coverage of the team, instead saying Monson is not fair.
Though Real Salt Lake obviously feels they are doing what is best for them, they should recognize the potential blow-back for pulling such a move. Clearly they didn’t see what happened when another sports organization recently tried to do something similar.