Beat writer ejected from stadium during Eagles game

The Philadelphia Inquirer (TNS)
  • Philadelphia Inquirer beat writer Jeff McLane was ejected from Sunday's Eagles game.
  • McLane was ejected after he and a member of the Eagles media relations team got into an argument.
  • The argument was over how loudly other reporters were talking in the press box.

The Eagles on Sunday ejected Inquirer beat writer Jeff McLane from the stadium after he and a member of the Eagles media relations team got into an argument over how loudly other reporters were talking in the press box.

McLane, who has covered the team for eight seasons, was escorted from Lincoln Financial Field during the second half of the Eagles' final regular-season game against the Dallas Cowboys.


Anne Gordon, the team's senior vice president of marketing, media, and communications and a former Inquirer managing editor, said McLane violated the press box's "well-understood code of conduct" while arguing with the Eagles employee.

The ejection brought a sharp rebuke from Inquirer Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Stan Wischnowski.

"We find the actions taken by the Eagles media relations staff to be extremely disappointing and unprofessional," Wischnowski said. "Jeff has spent eight years covering the Eagles exhaustively in a fair, accurate and thorough manner."

McLane said that during the game, Zach Groen, a member of the Eagles media relations team who also sits in the press box, told journalists sitting in McLane's row that they were speaking too loudly.

McLane said he and the other reporters snapped back at Groen. Gordon said McLane told Groen to "shut up," though McLane said he did not use those words.

McLane said after the initial sparring, he decided to talk about the issue with Groen in a room outside the press box.

McLane said the discussion was "a slight argument, but nothing out of the ordinary." After a few minutes, McLane said, both men returned to the press box.

About 15 minutes later, McLane said, an Eagles security employee returned with Gordon and told McLane he was being kicked out. Daily News columnist Marcus Hayes posted a picture of the encounter on Twitter.

Gordon said: "I asked for security to eject Jeff from our press box, a press box that has a standard code of behavior that every reporter understands and actually participates in endorsing and policing. . . so that people can watch the game and can follow and do their jobs carefully."

Wischnowski said the move was unnecessary.

"To prevent him from doing his job for something this petty is outrageous," he said. "It could have been easily resolved in several ways without ejecting him from the press box."

McLane said that while other members of the press box were objecting to his ejection, Gordon threatened to throw them out, as well.

Daily News beat writer Les Bowen posted 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."

McLane has occasionally been critical of the Eagles with his coverage. Last week, he wrote a story questioning whether executive vice president Howie Roseman had made wise investments in players. In another story, he wrote "the jury is certainly still in deliberation" about the prospects for head coach Doug Pederson, though he did say Pederson deserved to return next season.

Gordon said she has known McLane for many years, and that "I would not have treated him differently than I would have treated someone else."

She also said the ejection would not impact McLane's ability to access team facilities moving forward.