During the second half of the Eagle's 17-13 win over the Dallas Cowboys, Eagles staffers ejected Philadelphia Inquirer beat writer Jeff McLane from the press box and the stadium after he and an Eagles media relations rep argued over how loudly other reporters were talking in the press box.

According to the Inquirer, McLane said that Zach Groen, an Eagles media relations team staffer who sits in the press box, told journalists sitting in McLane's row that they were talking too loudly. McLane admits he snapped back at Gordon; the Eagles claim he said, "Shut up," but McLane denies using those words.

McLane asked Groen to talk about the problem outside the press box, and they did, with McLane saying they had "a slight argument, but nothing out of the ordinary," and then both went back inside the press box.

So far so good. Apparently cooler heads prevailed.

But then Anne Gordon, the team's senior vice president of marketing, media, and communications, accompanied by a security employee, told McLane he was being kicked out.

And when other members of the media objected to McLane's ejection, they say Gordon threatened to have them removed as well. Les Bowen, a beat writer for the Daily News, said on Twitter that Gordon "made it clear to everyone that she would be happy to eject us all, and that fallout did not concern her."

Maybe McLane shouldn't have snapped at Groen, who probably only thought he was doing his job. The Eagles own the press box and have the right to admit or deny anyone inside. They also have the right to make the rules about what behavior is acceptable. It's their "house." They get to make the rules, and if you don't like the rules, you don't have to go inside.

But still.

The Eagles were playing a meaningless game on their way to a disappointing 7-9 season. They have bigger problems. They have on-field problems, off-field problems... and now they have a PR problem they could have avoided. McLane will spend much of this week on talk radio and sports TV talking about the incident. He'll control the narrative, not the Eagles.

So who wins? Certainly not the Eagles.

And not realizing that, and not caring about the blowback to the organization, shows a definite lack of intelligence, especially emotional intelligence.

Apparently no one in the press box complained about excess noise. McLane and Groen took the argument outside, evidently settled it -- and even if they didn't, whatever they said took place outside the press box and didn't impact the ability of the other members of the media to do their jobs (which is the whole point of having a "quiet" rule in the first place.)

So why throw McLane out? If you're the Eagles, what can you possibly gain?

Nothing. You lose.

If McLane had caused problems before -- I'm not saying he had, I'm just saying if he had -- then deal with that later. There are better times and better places.

Rules are rules, but sometimes the best rule to follow is the one that says rules are meant to be broken.

As with many things, just because you can... doesn't mean you should.

Published on: Jan 1, 2017
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