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David Newton's ESPN Sports Magazine

David Newton's ESPN Sports Magazine

Unfair advantage

by David Newton posted Nov 20 2017 11:26AM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen insists he won't gain an unfair advantage assisting in the broadcast of the Minnesota Vikings-Los Angeles Rams game for Fox Sports on Sunday as some in the Minnesota organization have suggested.

"The notion that I'm going to gain an unfair advantage is crazy,'' the three-time Pro Bowl selection said on Wednesday. "We have scouts at every game across the league. I'm going to have enough trouble on my hands broadcasting a game, let alone looking for little nuances on the sideline.

"I don't know how much time I'll have for stealing of secrets. I never was intending or thought I was in a production meeting. I never thought I would watch a practice.''

NFL.com reported that Minnesota general manager Rick Spielman spoke with the NFL and Fox Sports to say it is inappropriate that Olsen be allowed to participate in the broadcast during the bye week for the Panthers.

"The notion that I'm going to gain an unfair advantage is crazy. We have scouts at every game across the league. I'm going to have enough trouble on my hands broadcasting a game, let alone looking for little nuances on the sideline."

Greg Olsen
Olsen has been on injured reserve with a broken foot suffered in a Week 2 win against Buffalo, but he is set to come off next week in time to play in the Nov. 26 game against the New York Jets.

The Panthers (7-3), who trail the New Orleans Saints (7-2) by a half-game in the NFC South, host the NFC North-leading Vikings (7-2) on Dec. 10. They could face the NFC West-leading Rams (7-2) in the playoffs.

Minnesota's concern is that Fox Sports announcers Kevin Burkhardt and Charles Davis will have access to practice and production meetings, and they could share team secrets with Olsen.

"For anyone who has ever been in those broadcast production meetings, if you're spilling your deepest, darkest game-plan secrets to the broadcast crew, that's kind of on you,'' said Olsen, who has been in production meetings before. "We're not getting anything that's really going to give you much insight on how to beat them.

"The whole thing is so crazy to me. I don't know. Whatever.''

Olsen said he would have no issue if a Minnesota player was in the booth for a Carolina game.

"What you see on the tape is what you see, and then whatever your secrets are for that week, you sure are not telling anybody,'' he said. "So I don't know what's left.

"I don't even know what to say. I never imagined in a million years when Fox asked me to do this five months ago that this was ever going to become an issue.''

Olsen is disappointed that this has taken away from what he considers a special moment for him because broadcasting is something he might be interested in after he finishes playing football.

"It kind of sucks that it's controversy as opposed to people being a little excited for a little different take on the game,'' he said. "But that's the world we live in. Everyone has a problem with something. I get it. I understand this is a highly competitive world. I get it.

"But I'm still going to do it.''
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11/20/2017 11:28AM
Unfair advantage
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