City council and press face off — on the dodgeball court

“I thought this would be a fun play on us not dodging the press — or dodging the press,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

Updated, 10:23 a.m.: Due to the spring nor'easter hitting New York City and its surrounding areas, the dodgeball game between City Council and the city's press corps has been canceled. A resceduled date has not yet been announced. 

 

Original story, 5 a.m.: Politicians dodging the press is a tale as old as time, but an event taking place Wednesday will put city legislators right in the line of reporters’ fire. But it won’t be questions they’ll try to elude — it’ll be dodgeballs.

 

Last week, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson challenged the city’s press corps to face councilmembers in a dodgeball tournament to be held this Wednesday night at The Clinton School on East 15th Street.

 

For years, the press corps from City Hall’s Room 9 and City Council have both played softball against the mayor’s office, but Johnson thought that a dodgeball tournament would be “a fun play on us not dodging the press — or dodging the press,” the speaker told Metro. “I thought it’d be a fun thing for us to do together.”

 

Metro: How has the response been to your challenge?

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson: We’ve gotten a good response from Room 9. They’re excited — a lot of reporters told me they’re excited to whip a ball at me. And we’ve gotten a great response from the councilmembers. We have 25 that signed up to play. And we’ll have a special referee. He is a former councilmember who now serves in a borough-wide position in a nice, beautiful piece of land on the other side of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

I’ve heard you’re pretty athletic and may have an advantage on the court. What do you have to say to that?

I’m a little rusty, and there’s been no practice. I was an athlete in high school. I was captain of my high school football team, I played lacrosse and baseball and was a wrestler. I did not want to challenge Room 9 to wrestling. I thought that would end badly.

Would you like this to be a regular thing, perhaps with different sports?

I’m open to it, I’m sure we’re going to challenge the mayor’s office again to softball, but we always have to work with the press. They have a job to do, we have a job to do, but we can also have fun together.

The longstanding government-versus-press battle is a lot less playful at the federal level. What sport would you like to see the White House play against reporters?

Oh, it might be nice if we saw the White House play full-contact rugby against the press — no pads. 

 
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