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Rick Telander

This paper provides an overview of the role relationship between professional athletes and sports journalists. After a brief historical review it discusses (a) the current conflicts between players and sports writers in light of changing role definitions for both athletes and journalists, (b) ethical guidelines for writers covering athletes as personalities, and (c) how the emergence of superstar athletes has intensified the potential for conflict in player-press relations. The major conclusion is that conflict in player-press relations is likely to continue. Its intensity will vary with the players’ understandings of the role of the press in professional sport, the knowledge and empathy of the sports writers themselves, and the sophistication of the consumers of sport publications.