Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys (and one gigantic football stadium) walked in a bar recently, had some drinks and talked with some fans about former coach Bill Parcells (““isn’t worth a s—”) and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow, whom he said he would never draft. Unbeknown to Jones, a fan captured this exchange on his smart phone and soon the video found its way to Deadspin, a sports blog.
Jones’ comments seem to be newsworthy, so soon the mainstream media linked to and commented on the video, much to the dismay of some. Many ethical questions to pick from here: publishing off-the-record comments, erosion of journalistic standards and the ethics of blogging.
But the larger issue is the expectation of privacy we can claim when we enter a semi-public place like a bar. Should Jones have been more careful and been aware that someone with a smart phone might be recording him? Or are we losing something when people, private or public figures, have to enter a bar under the assumption that whatever they do or say might end up on a Web site the next day? I tend to think the latter, what about you?