The NFL is taking some heat from writers and fans today, due to the pathetic tryout of Lauren Silberman. She claimed to be dealing with an injury, but according to those in attendance, she had no business being there. She allegedly asked other kickers about how she should tee the ball up, and how to approach the ball. It now appears to have been just a publicity stunt by Silberman, who got her company name out there, and gained fifteen minutes of fame. Which is the exact opposite of what she originally stated as her intent when it was first reported that she would be the first female to tryout for NFL teams:
“I was not aware that I was the first female registrant,” Silberman said to NFL.com. “I was actually hoping that the 2012 historical milestone rule, to allow women to play, would prompt more women to attend tryouts this year. But for me, what’s important is to finally have a chance to fulfill my dreams by trying out to play in the world’s most competitive football league.”
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk watched this story rather closely as it happened over the weekend, and has been very critical of the NFL for allowing her to compete. Not only was it a benefit to her, but it obviously gave the NFL extra attention, as nobody really pay attention to the regional scouting combines. But then later on Monday, NFL.com’s Aditi Kinkhabwala wrote her own article criticizing Silberman, which Florio took exception to. That led to a back and forth between him and NFL PR man, Greg Aiello
Aiello was in the wrong, here. First of all, in no way to Florio exhibit sexism in anything that he wrote about this subject. In fact, he was quite objective about it. The Aiello also stated later that the NFL didn’t publicize her participation, but the NFL Network interviewed her on NFL A.M. on the morning of her tryout. The NFL did use her for publicity, as she used the NFL for herself. It ended up being a mutually beneficial experiment for both parties.
Now, what does this all mean? Nothing as far as the ‘Shield’ is concerned. As in anything with the NFL and bad PR, it remains bulletproof. This actually becomes even better for Silberman, as her name continues to be in the news longer than it should be due to Florio’s reporting on it. But what is a shame is that the story about the first woman competing at an NFL tryout has nothing to do with how good she is. That’s the most unfortunate thing about all of this.