Some teams make a point of setting up a table and assigning a couple of players and coaches to about 30 minutes of autograph duty every day. It’s a nice, orderly way of making sure people get what they came for. Many teams don’t, and fans simply line the walkway from the practice field to the locker rooms and beg for autographs. Players often stop and sign, but once they stop signing? Oh, that’s when the complaining starts. One player told me his team received a complaint about him not signing for a fan. He told me, ‘I signed at least 200 times after practice, and the 201st person is the only one who seems to matter.’ He signed and signed after practice, shortening the time he had to shower, change, have lunch, catch a nap, and get to meetings before the afternoon workout. His reward? People thought of him as stuck-up guy who stiffed a fan.
When I worked for the Washington Redskins as editorial director, I appeared on the coach’s TV show, a daily cable show, and a Sunday preview show. I also got to say a few words on radio programming. So when fans asked ME to sign their items at training camp (usually when players wouldn’t, couldn’t, or didn’t), I happily complied. I usually had to sign 10 or 15 times, certainly not 200. And I hadn’t just had my head ripped off in practice, either.
So let this link and the video be a warning to you as you consider whether or not to go to a training camp practice. Me? Well, I like the beach now.