A couple of state senators from Kansas City say pro football teams have no business barring the news media from the sidelines during games… They’ve introduced a bill letting media representatives get a judge’s order telling teams they must let reporters back on the sidelines if the teams play in publicly-financed facilities. Senator Matt Bartle of Lee’s Summit says he sees ominous developments in the way the National Football League is restricting public access to games. He says come community groups such as church groups that held Super Bowl parties got threatening telephone calls from NFL lawyers. He also says local news media have been barred from the sidelines of NFL games and stations must use only the video clips provided by the NFL. He says the privately-owned NFL receives millions of dollars in taxpayer money and therefore has an obligation to the general public and to the news media that serves it. Senator Victor Callahan, whose district includes Arrowhead Stadium where the Kansas City Chiefs play, says voters in his home district and in the rest of Jackson County voted a special tax last year to finance tens of millions of dollars in improvements at the Jackson County Sports Complex. He says the taxpayers own the stadium and no team or league should be allowed to monopolize it just to maximize profit. The St. Louis Rams also play in a publicly-funded stadium. Both Senators say they had not contacted the Chiefs or the NFL before filing their bill. The NFL put the sideline ban into effect for the season just ended. The Bartle-Callahan proposal would let the media get a court injunction against any team that tries to enforce
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