Reporters not being in locker rooms certainly had an impact on the amount of information that got out relating to NFL teams over the course of the 2020 season.
Monday was a perfect example relating to the Patriots, as Matthew Slater was asked a question relating to the NFLPA's stance on attendance at voluntary offseason workout programs and Slater revealed he's no longer the Patriots' player rep and wasn't last year, either.
"Well, I don't know if you guys know this, I stepped down from that post last year because I felt like it was time to get some young guys more involved," Slater said on a Zoom call with reporters Monday. "So Joe Thuney, Joe Cardona and James White have been serving in that role over the last year. Though I've been involved, I've tried to stay kind of behind the scenes."
Why did he step down?
"Great question. I think there comes a point in time where you serve in certain capacities and you kind of just feel like my time is going to run its course," Slater said. "And for me, I served in that role for nine years, and I know that I'm closer to the end of my career than I am to the beginning. So I think it's important that young guys take ownership and understand the way that this league operates, the business side of this league, the player safety side of this league. We want our young men to be educated and to be involved and to really take ownership in what they're doing. So I felt the Lord telling me, 'OK, it's time for you to step aside in this role.' I thought about it, I talked to some of the leadership at the union and I felt like it was a good time for me to step away. I think those young men have done a great job of learning on the fly. You talk about a unique year last year with some of the things that they have to navigate and some of the decisions that needed to be made as far as COVID protocols and stuff like that.
"And I think that Thuney, Cardona, Brandon Copeland and James White, they all did a great job. B-Cope had had experience as a rep and an alternate. Cardona's had experience here as an alternate. James and Joe really stepped up. So I think it's good to see young players take ownership, to be informed and educated about the league and the direction that it's headed and to understand the ins and outs of it because the more we know, the better we're going to be when you talk about the union and player and membership. I just thought it was time. I think it was the right decision for me and the right decision for our team."
Surely, if reporters were in the locker room last season it would have been learned at some point Slater no longer was serving in that role.