Eagles QB Hurts seeks action from WFT following FedExField railing collapse

Jalen Hurts managed to sidestep the railing as it collapsed and fans fell to the field but he stayed behind to help them up and take photosGETTY IMAGES

Eagles QB Jalen Hurts has written a letter to NFL officials and the Washington Football Team "requesting action" following an incident Sunday where a railing at FedExField "collapsed and sent eight Eagles fans falling roughly 10 feet down to Hurts," according to Josh Tolentino of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. Hurts in the letter wrote, "I would like to know what safeguards the NFL and the Washington Football Team are implementing to prevent this from ever occurring in the future." He continued, “The resources of the NFL and team organizations ensure our safety through playing this physical sport, but what happened on Sunday put both fans and players unnecessarily at risk long after the final whistle." The WFT on Sunday in a statement said that "no one was seriously injured." But the fans involved "refuted portions of the statement" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 1/5). A WFT spokesperson said that team President Jason Wright "received the letter and sent an email to Hurts in response." A team spokesperson said that the WFT have been "in communication with the league" and are "doing a full investigation." The spokesperson also said that respondents from Prince George’s County EMS "were at the scene within five minutes to assist those who requested medical evaluation and that two people were treated" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/5). WFAN’s Boomer Esiason said the WFT organization "sucks." Esiason: “The stadium’s falling apart, you got Jalen Hurts writing to them a letter figuring out wat the hell’s going on down there” (“Boomer and Gio,” WFAN, 1/5).

WELCOME DISTRACTION: In N.Y., Ken Belson notes the WFT will "unveil a new name and 'identity'" on Feb. 2. The public-facing effort is the "latest effort to overhaul one of the NFL’s most troubled franchises" that has been "embroiled with numerous off-field scandals to accompany years of dismal on-field performances." WFT execs and coach Ron Rivera in a video released yesterday "looked at potential helmets and jerseys that include the team’s signature burgundy and gold colors." The introduction of a new name and logo in four weeks will be a "welcome distraction for a club dogged by negative news" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/5). ESPN’s Tony Reali said the WFT teasing its new nickname unveiling is “how they got away from that story” of the railing collapse. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne said she is now "used to calling them the WFT,” but this “whole process has been like WTF” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 1/4). ESPN’s Michael Wilbon said the potential new names are “lazy” and were “created by marketing people to put something out there so they can justify moving on to something else and selling some more jerseys.” ESPN’s Toy Kornheiser: “'Washington Football Team' is perfect. … Do something right for the first time in 15 years and actually go out and make it the 'Washington Football Team'” (“PTI,” ESPN, 1/4). CBS Sports Radio’s Maggie Gray: “These names are pretty blah to me” (“Maggie & Perloff,” CBSSN, 1/4). 

SBJ Spotlight: TikTok’s threat to traditional sports media

While tech companies are consumed with finding ways to compete with TikTok, almost no one in conventional media “spends any time talking about it,” said Recode senior correspondent Peter Kafka in an Spotlight interview with SBJ’s John Ourand. “To me, that’s just an obvious disconnect.” Kafka authored a recent column headlined, “It’s TikTok’s world. Can TV live in it?” He said the main response to TikTok’s growth from traditional media execs has been to “punt and hope it’s someone else’s problem a quarter from now or two years from now.” But Kafka said that ignores the trend of conventional broadcast audiences growing older while a billion younger consumers spend most of their media time watching short video after short video. “If you’re in the business of getting anyone under the age of 30 to look at what you’re putting on a screen, you have to think about the fact that you’re probably asking them to put down TikTok and watch your thing instead,” said Kafka. “That’s a very difficult ask. … [TikTok] is insanely addictive.”

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