Mar said the "corporate creep" in all sports has made it hard to avoid commercial messages in the background of game photos, including the nameplate of The Seattle Times in various sports venues.
"This just adds another level to the challenge. If I produce an eye-popping picture, people will notice that longer than a logo."
Some years ago, photographers were pushed back 3 feet at Qwest Field so that television cameras could move along the sideline. "That was a bigger issue for me," Mar said.
He said he doesn't want his ability to apply his journalistic instincts to be compromised. He is concerned that teams will try to dictate coverage to the person on the field and dictate how we can use pictures.
(He added that the Seahawks have never once complained about a photo, or even hinted at an attitude of "We'll give you access, but you need to make us look good.")
Times Sports Editor Henkel said she, too, is especially concerned about increasing attempts to limit how the press can cover sports and use the material it gathers. "That I find to be very, very disturbing. I never thought we would get to this point."
Limits on access to players and coaches already are making it harder to get enterprise coverage and independent stories.
"People understand the need for an independent voice, independent of the leagues. We're not paid by sponsors to write it a certain way. Fans will be upset if that independence is lost," Henkel said.
I hope she is right about that, but I'm less sure after reading Jerry Brewer's column in today's Sports section.
Despite performance-enhancing drugs, athletes behaving badly and even a referee accused of betting on games, Brewer writes, "Fans recover, always."