The Falcons say they don’t practice censorship – really!

I’ve gotten several complaints from readers who claimed their critical posts were deleted from the message boards at AtlantaFalcons.com and they were then blocked from reading the boards. Here, from an AJC.com poster who goes by the screen name of Falcons Censor Critics/Crybabies!, is this:

“You know, Mark and Atlanta, I criticized Coach [Mike] Smith and the coaching staff as well as the entire team for the abysmal performance against the Patriots on their message board. It seems the FALCONS BRASS and ARTHUR BLANK don’t like criticism. I was banned from their site and not even allowed to read their message board as a result….NO CURSING just telling the brutal truth. If you are not a cheerleader , even in a terrible loss, they whine about the criticism.
“HEY, COACH SMITH AND ARTHUR BLANK, GROW UP!! If you can’t take criticism you’re in the wrong business. Watch out, Mark Bradley, King Arthur can’t stand criticism.”

In the interest of  clarification, I called Reggie Roberts, the Falcons’ vice president of communications, and asked if the Falcons had gotten heavy-handed in the wake of their loss to New England. He checked and called back a half-hour later, saying this:

“We monitor and moderate our boards for language and content, and people have to accept certain conditions before they can post on our boards saying they won’t indulge in profanity or name-calling or baiting. We’re not in the business of banning criticism unless someone runs afoul of the rules to which he has already agreed.

“We had some instances this week of people impersonating other people and making personal attacks on other posters. But if someone wants to say [offensive coordinator] Mike Mularkey isn’t very good or to criticize [running back] Michael Turner, we won’t have a problem with that.”

I know Reggie’s words won’t satisfy some among you, but I should also say that we at AJC.com monitor and moderate our boards for language and content, and we do ban repeat offenders. I should also note that our policy for what’s acceptable might be considered more liberal than other message boards’.

But I should also note a rather basic human trait: Nobody likes to be criticized. Especially after a loss in the rain.

279 comments Add your comment

MightyQuinn

September 30th, 2009
3:15 pm

Whoa! Am I…..

MightyQuinn

September 30th, 2009
3:16 pm

First! Having no life has its benefits.

DP in NC

September 30th, 2009
3:16 pm

Hey Mark, what happened to my first post?

Mark Bradley

September 30th, 2009
3:16 pm

Yes, you are. Kudos, Quinn.

Mark Bradley

September 30th, 2009
3:18 pm

Don’t know, DP. It hasn’t shown up in the spam queue.

David

September 30th, 2009
3:19 pm

How can you ban someone from posting when there is no login?

ChippersLoveChild

September 30th, 2009
3:20 pm

Lol, Bill Shanks censors you on his Braves website also. You had better not disagree with him or call him a “homer” or you will be getting the boot and denied access to his forums.

Mark Bradley

September 30th, 2009
3:21 pm

See, I need to get on board here, so to speak. I never delete any comment that calls me an idiot.

Of course, we’d only have two comments per post if I did.

MightyQuinn

September 30th, 2009
3:25 pm

As far as these blogs go, thoughtful criticism is one thing. Hate bloggers that never change their tone or message are another. They are like the drunk guy in the sports bar that eventually everyone wants to punch out. They are attention seeking people with little or no self esteem. They are one of many reasons I don’t listen to talk radio (sports or politics). And if the Falcons want to censor their own blogs, well, it is THEIR blog. No one has to hold them to the First Amendment.

where there's smoke there's fire

September 30th, 2009
3:25 pm

Where there is smoke there’s fire Mark. Keep up the good work in keeping them honest.
The Falcons are not some secret organization of privilege. They belong to the city and its fans.

Bat Masterson

September 30th, 2009
3:26 pm

The NFL does not take criticism well period. Quinn, the first shall be last and the last, first. Are you meek, as well.

Mark Bradley

September 30th, 2009
3:29 pm

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who liked being criticized, Bat. But real pros — and here I again mention Dan Reeves and Bobby Cox — just shrug it off.

SimpleDawg

September 30th, 2009
3:29 pm

Sounds like Reggie answered YES to your question.

That was an abysmal performance by the Falcons Sunday afternoon. They were out coached, out played, and out hit by the Patriots. No need to rehash the obvious.

Now, where do we go from here? Do we look in the mirror and ask, “Are we going to wake up, toughen up, and wise up, or are we going to keep leaning on being young and inexperienced on defense.” What about our offense? Where was the “nasty” offensive line? How about our bruising RB? Where has Roddy “Money” white been?

Let’s go boys….we’ve seen the good; we don’t want to go back to the bad.

BugKiller

September 30th, 2009
3:29 pm

I wonder what would happen on a hypothetical message board run by UGA.

Hehe.

There would be a revolution from all the censoring going on (due to Adams, his puppet AD, Willie Martinez, and any other criticism under the sun).

I have a feeling that who sent you that email, Mark, is probably Falcons Sorry / Bad News / Vick Supporter.

Mrs. Chanandler Bong

September 30th, 2009
3:31 pm

Let’s talk about the Braves instead. The Falcons are on my shiz list.

Mark Bradley

September 30th, 2009
3:32 pm

Hey, Mrs. CB. How’s it going?

Nativebird

September 30th, 2009
3:32 pm

As a frequent visitor/poster on the Falcons boards, I can truthfully report that there are a LOT of boneheads using profanity in posts that do nothing but bait other visitors to engage in the oh-so-tired practice of online hating-contests.
So if Mr. Roberts rules are even close to being enforced to the level he says their being enforced…their must be a LOT of really dumb (and bored) people partidulary attracted to the Falcons site. Personally, it’s driven me away by and large, but their is a section called “Pure Football” that seems to be monitored much better and appears to typically have good football-related discussions.

(R) = sore loser

September 30th, 2009
3:33 pm

Don’t believe them Mark. I was banned too for criticizing the Falcons.

Pi$$onaDawg

September 30th, 2009
3:33 pm

Tony Blowhard cut me off too. I didn’t cuss I just told any idiot can pick game winners if you don’t have the POINT SPREAD. Tony no happy with me.

PURE FOOTBALL SUCKS

September 30th, 2009
3:36 pm

The Pure Football forum is full of jerks who think they know it all and won’t allow anyone to post there
unless you’re in their exclusive little circle of losers. Stay here if you want to talk to someone with half a brain.Criticize them and you get banned no matter what you say.

Bat Masterson

September 30th, 2009
3:38 pm

That’s true Mark, and really, I was thinking about the NFL big brass and the lousy officiating I have seen lately. I’m not saying the officials cost the Falcons the game, the Falcons were tentative, that said, the ref’s called a one sided game.

SOUTH GA BIRD FAN

September 30th, 2009
3:40 pm

After all these years of supporting the Falcons I was right not to jump on the 12-4 superbowl this year bandwagon. I have to many scars from the smith days ( not coach Smith Mark you know the smiths I mean) but I must admit I thought the defense would be the major problem , and they still may be , but the offense has been a big letdown so far whats up with the fumbles and butterfingers ?
GO FALCONS still hoping for 9-7

critics not allowed

September 30th, 2009
3:41 pm

the message given to Falcons critics is “You are not allowed to visit this forum” . Like being a Falcon fan is some “exclusive” club. What a joke.

BOYCOTT FALCONS

September 30th, 2009
3:49 pm

If the Falcons don’t support freedom, they need to be BOYCOTTED. Freedom of speech !!
Freedom of speech !!

PMC

September 30th, 2009
3:54 pm

That’s like coming into someones house and peeing on the carpet. Rude and disrespectful. If they did censor the content… IT’S THEIR SITE.

Create a blog if you want to whine about things.

Seriously… this is a non issue. Anyone whining about the Falcons now has some sort of personal problem. At no time in history have we had a brighter sports future in this town. Hate the Falcons? Go cheer for the Hawks… Go cheer for Tech/Georgia the Thrashers…you’re local high school team.

You can be critical anywhere. 80% of the posts on the Falcons message board are from critical fans… and 90% of those are from off base morons.

sharecropper

September 30th, 2009
3:55 pm

Well, great Mr. Bradley. Now that you have refused to be a reporter — there once was a time a fellow would have had to be a reporter before getting a column — answer the damn question: did the posts get deleted, and what posts were deleted, and why? My god, are you that much of a homer, or are you that incompetent? You are shameless. And you kept your job while dozens were fired at the AJC? Now we know why. You cause the AJC no problems with authority. Shameful.

OK with it

September 30th, 2009
3:56 pm

Could we please ban Saint Simons?

MightyQuinn

September 30th, 2009
3:59 pm

We should all remember the famous Jerry Glanville video clip where he explains to the ref that the NFL stands for Not For Long. Thus if they don’t like you….

Danny

September 30th, 2009
3:59 pm

For fear of being banned from Falcons.com, I’ve decided to make the following post here:

Has anyone taken note of the fact that the Falcons’ two wins have come against teams that have a combined record of 0-6. Those teams have been outscored 80 – 156.

The Falcons were also lambasted by the Pats. The game was not as close as the final score, as the Pats’ would have won by at least two more touchdowns if Brady had been able to connect on the long ball. Fortunately, Frank Gore will be out when we face the 49ers next week.

If Turner isn’t more effective after next week, things could get ugly.

Silver Classic

September 30th, 2009
4:04 pm

I wish AJC wern’t so liberal in what they allow to be posted. I find that many of the cronic whinners appear to be soleless wannabees who can only rise above the crowd by climbing on someone else’s back.

Reading the continuious glut of assinine remarks, rather than constructive criticism, drives those of us who desire to engage in useful, or at least interesting, dialog to other venues.

**Frederick(Bailey)Douglass**

September 30th, 2009
4:11 pm

They should hire the royal, tenacious, noble D-Led. He would never implement such nonsense on his blog…which is the absolute best in the business…as it relates to these Dirty Birds.

FBD
P.S. Somebody, somewhere needs to be asking why we run a critical third down play to the barrier and limit the field by 50% (and NO D-Led, all routes ended up there so this was NOT a blitz read)…OR, why we didn’t try #12 again on the deep go route…OR why we have a Yellow Coater (HoF) on the team that gets thrown one ball (of course he caught it) the entire game. !?!?!?

BOYCOTT FALCONS

September 30th, 2009
4:12 pm

Let FREEDOM ring America. Say NO to censorship ! BOYCOTT the Falcons!! Are soldiers are dying for our freedom. Don’t give it up

falconidae

September 30th, 2009
4:12 pm

I spend time on the message board, and I don’t know the specific case written about here, but my observation is the only people who get banned on the falcon’s board deserve it. No one is banned for writing negative posts about the falcons, but for breaking the forum rules, including personal attacks, and obviously inflammatory comments.

cdog

September 30th, 2009
4:15 pm

THE OFFICIALS COST THE FALCONS THE GAME AGAINST THE PATROITS. IT DIDN’T TAKE A ROCKET SCIENTIST TO SEE THAT. HERE THE LITTLE OLE FALCONS PLAYING THE SO CALLED BIG BAD PATROITS IN THE REFS EYES. BILL BELLICHECK AND RANDY MOSS INFLUENCED THE REFS CALLS ALOT.IT WAS ONE SIDED CALLED AGAINST ATLANTA.MIKE SMITH SHOULD NOT JUST SIT THERE AND ALLOW THE OFFICIALS TO TAKE THE GAME AWAY FROM THE FALCONS AS HE DID

Paul H

September 30th, 2009
4:19 pm

Can we ban Saint Simons? Period? Even a lot of Tech fans would agree to that.

Richard Dawson

September 30th, 2009
4:20 pm

“Especially after a loss in the rain.”??? Huh? Is it any better after a loss in the sun or snow?

Just A Fan

September 30th, 2009
4:22 pm

I agree. Saint Simons should go. As well as Vick Supporter

falconidae ??????

September 30th, 2009
4:23 pm

How do you know who is banned ? Do you have a list ? Every time I ever posted anything there
I was jumped on by the kool aid drinkers there. They act like the Falcons are some exclusive country club ! Screw them ! I will spend my money elsewhere !

Just A Fan

September 30th, 2009
4:23 pm

Saint Simons isn’t a Tech fan. He goes on the Tech boards and does the same crap after we lose. He just trys to stir up emotions on both boards.

Bravedawg

September 30th, 2009
4:24 pm

I like how the guy was criticizing and calling out Arthur Blank and Mike Smith for deleting his comments…as if either of them give two shytes about some message board posting.

Gumby

September 30th, 2009
4:25 pm

It really doesnt matter…a loss is a loss!!

Josef Stalin

September 30th, 2009
4:27 pm

Sat nyet to criticism Falcons. Ship them to forced labor internment camps if they criticize !
Freedom is overrated

MightyQuinn

September 30th, 2009
4:27 pm

“Reading the continuious glut of assinine remarks, rather than constructive criticism, drives those of us who desire to engage in useful, or at least interesting, dialog to other venues.”

Well said, Silver Classic. Although I must confess that I derive a modicum of morbid pleasure reading FALCONS SORRY posts from time to time. I just can’t help myself!

Tyson

September 30th, 2009
4:28 pm

I am in the messageboards, and i still see negative comments in the boards. I don’t think they get deleted. There are like 50 fans from other teams (who the other posters have proven they are, from the screenname change history) that act like falcons fans and bash everyone from the QB to the kicker and saying that Vick should return….even those posters don’t get kicked out….maybe the wannabes got too many negative rating from other users, and are crying about it.

An Observer

September 30th, 2009
4:28 pm

Not speaking specifically about the Falcons’ blogger that complained about being banned from the Falcons’ website, BUT THERE ARE SEVERAL bloggers, on the AJC Falcons’ blog that need to be banned permanently.

They add nothing to the discussion and constantly rehash the same old post/comments under different names to stir up racial tension.

Everyone who reads this blog knows EXACTLY who I’m talking about.

tron

September 30th, 2009
4:32 pm

beautiful marble covered with luv
the mysteries of life floating above
dancing alone or wit a girl who u fancy
don’t be afraid to tell her ur dandy
spinning around this big blob of blue
hoping one day to meet someone true
saving my soul for a bowl of brunswick stew

Rich

September 30th, 2009
4:32 pm

At Georgia Wrestling History, we have maintained a board for seven years and only banned less than a handful of folks. Our basic idea is the same as Mark noted about the AJC blogs: no profanity, name-calling, or baiting, and you’re all clear. Some of the local promoters and wrestlers don’t like some of the things that we let slide, but if you work in a forum meant to entertain, no matter the business, you’d better learn to accept criticism. We just also opened a new board for the the Sports Buffet radio show, and the rules there will be just as relaxed. I have always heard this about the Falcons board, so it comes as no surprise, really.

the Sports Buffet

And Paul H, here’s a Tech fan who agrees.

dawes

September 30th, 2009
4:32 pm

mark bradley you can make fun of bobby cox he has won championship with atlanta and you can make fun of dan reevees he did take the falcons to the super bowl so why are you makimy fun of them

lawton

September 30th, 2009
4:35 pm

i know for a fact that georgiadawg, i think thats the one, will ban you under half a second for critizing the bulldogs.

hooked on phonix

September 30th, 2009
4:36 pm

can we ban peeple who dont reed and rite too good?