INDIANAPOLIS -- Every single New York Giants player and coach was available to the media on Wednesday morning of Super Bowl week except defensive end Osi Umenyiora. And the NFL has fined Umenyiora $20,000 for his absence.
Fans generally don't care about the media and our issues, but the NFL does. This is the NFL's showcase event, and it's important to the league that the players cooperate in showcasing the product. During Super Bowl week, players are asked to be available for interviews for one hour on Tuesday, one on Wednesday and one on Thursday. Additionally, six players from each team are made available directly after arriving in town. Umenyiora was not one of those six players on Monday, which means his total required media availability for this entire week was three hours. Not exactly a huge imposition, especially when you consider that every other member of his team found a way to fit it in.
Umenyiora was in a team meeting shortly after the media availability period, and he was expected to practice Wednesday, so it doesn't seem as though whatever kept him away puts his status for the Super Bowl in jeopardy. And I have a pretty good hunch he'll show up Thursday morning so we can ask him what kept him away.
UPDATE (2:48 pm): Through the Giants, Umenyiora released the following statement Wednesday afternoon:
"I misunderstood the schedule. It won't happen again, and I will be at tomorrow's media session and available after the game. I apologize for any inconvenience my absence this morning may have caused."