The NFL secured the future of HBO’s "Hard Knocks" this week, reserving the right to “compel” teams to participate. There was expected to be some pushback against the new directive, and Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians is leading the charge.
Arians, who is in his first year with the Cardinals, isn’t the type to want his team’s laundry aired out in the open, and he’s prepared to fight back against any attempt to force his team onto the 24/7 all-access show.
“It’s a total distraction, and I think it’s an embarrassment to players,” Arians said in an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday. “I think when players are released, some of the things that are said between coaches and players are too personal, and nobody else’s business.”
The NFL owners agreed to the initiative during the league’s annual fall owners meetings on Tuesday, giving them the right to force a team to participate if none volunteered — such as what happened before the Bengals succumbed to league pressure last season. Some exemptions do exist for consistent playoff participants and teams with new coaches.
When asked if he would fight “tooth and nail” against any attempted league mandate over his team, Arians quickly responded, “All the way. All the way.”
Arians may not want his team on the show, and he reserves the right to fight back, but when it’s him against the NFL owners, including potentially his own, the chips won’t fall in his favor.
“The NFL is trippin’. I’m serious,” he said Wednesday. “How are they going to pass a rule to force you to be on ‘Hard Knocks’? Wouldn’t that tell you if they have no volunteers that ‘Hard Knocks’ might be something that the teams don’t feel it’s going to help their team be a better football team?”