GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) – Like moviegoers everywhere, the Green Bay Packers are fed up with interruptions caused by those annoying cell phones going off at the most inopportune time.

So, coach Mike Sherman cut short his weekly news conference Wednesday when a camera operator’s phone rang, and the team canceled quarterback Brett Favre’s weekly briefing when the culprit failed to fess up.

The cell phone went off about 16 minutes into what is normally about a 25-minute news conference when Sherman was in the middle of answering a question about his defense.

“I don’t understand that,” Sherman, a former high school history teacher, said as he walked away from the podium in the media auditorium.

“That stuff to me, to be honest with you, is a total lack of respect for each other. Forget me, you don’t have to respect me. “

The Packers were hoping peer pressure would result in the offending individual coming forward. But when that didn’t happen, Favre’s news conference was canceled for the first time since the Mike Holmgren era a decade ago.

“This wasn’t a knee-jerk reaction,” team spokesman Jeff Blumb said.

“This is a problem that’s been ongoing for several weeks and despite repeated attempts to ask people to turn off their cell phones before every single press conference, it continued to happen.”

“We just reached a point where we felt like action had to be taken for the collective good of everyone there, maybe not for today, but for the long haul because the problem did not seem to be going away.”

Sherman, who has an endorsement deal with Cellcom, which sponsors his television show, has been interrupted at least four times this season by cell phones going off during his news conferences. Favre’s briefings also have been interrupted in similar fashion.

Two weeks ago, Sherman chided an offending TV reporter, saying that the media would be “all over” a player if he something similar happened in a meeting.

Sherman has long banned cell phones in meetings.

“That’s a big-time no-no,” long snapper Rob Davis said. “Big-time. Really, really bad.”

What would happen?

“You’d get punched in the face,” offensive coordinator Tom Rossley said. “Everybody in the room gets to punch you in the face. … It just doesn’t happen. It is not something that happens in this building.”

Linebacker Na’il Diggs said stiff fines are a pretty good deterrent.

“I don’t know (how much), but I’m sure it’s steep,” he said. “We haven’t had one of those in a few years.”

There is one exception.

“After the game, cell phones are allowed and you can call your wife and tell her about the game,” Rossley said. “But before the game, hotel, any meetings, it’s (not allowed).”

One time, a doctor’s cell phone went off “and everybody in the room threw stares at him,” Rossley recounted. “It’s serious business.”

Rossley doesn’t carry a cell phone but that doesn’t mean he’s lackadaisical about it.

“We just had the daylight savings time set back. I couldn’t set my watch,” Rossley said. “Somebody fixed my watch, and all of a sudden it started beeping three hours later. They’d set the alarm on it or something. I took the watch off, put it in my desk and said, I’m not going to wear this thing until it’s working.’ Because of the fear of it beeping.

“You don’t want anything making that kind of noise around you in that time period.”

AP-ES-11-02-05 2118EST


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.