NFL prevents Texans from closing camp early to cut off media access

The Texans attempted to end open training camp practices to cut down on media access. The NFL told them they couldn’t do that. 

According to a report from the Houston Chronicle, the Texans told reporters that Wednesday would be the final day before the team switched to regular-season mode Thursday. Per NFL policy, however, “all daily practices must be open in their entirety to local media through Aug. 26,” putting the kibosh on Houston’s attempts to keep reporters away. 

The Chronicle reported that the press will continue to attend practice until two days prior to the Texans’ final preseason game, which is scheduled for Aug. 28 against the Buccaneers. 

Once the regular season begins, the Texans can limit the media’s access to practice — to an extent. Under NFL rules, teams can decide how much time the media are able to spend at practice, but according to the Chronicle’s Brian T. Smith, teams must still grant reporters at least 20 minutes of access to daily practice, or access until the start of team drills, during the season. 

The Chronicle reported that under former coaches Dom Capers and Gary Kubiak, the Texans allowed reporters to attend all of practice. Bill O’Brien, who was hired in 2014, was the first Houston coach to reduce media access to the minimum. 

The Texans have been embroiled in drama throughout the offseason. Quarterback Deshaun Watson is facing more than 20 lawsuits accusing him of sexual assault. Watson, who wants to be traded, has reported to training camp to avoid being fined. Smith noted in a column that Watson would have been able to take snaps without being watched had the team succeeded in ending open practices before Aug. 26.

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