St. Louis Rams rookie Tavon Austin was in Los Angeles last weekend for the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, an all-star game for prospects. Also at that event were a group of L.A. area Rams fans. Austin snapped a couple pictures with the SoCal fans. Such behavior aroused the parochial Post-Dispatch and its forward-thinking online presence.
Columnist Joe Holleman, in a cleverly titled recurring installment of "Joe's St. Louis" who is concerned about Austin's off-field behavior:
As St. Louis Rams fans spend another off-season thinking about missing the playoffs, they can also chew on the fact that a group trying to take the team back to Los Angeles has managed to get wide receiver Tavon Austin into their photos.
I don't know how the players do it in other NFL cities, but this is Joe's St. Louis, dammit, and we don't recognize the fan diaspora.
Here's the offending photo ... which for some reason didn't actually appear in this edition of Joe's St. Louis.
Someone's holding up a shirt that says "Future Los Angeles Rams" season ticket holder. This also troubled Joe ... of Joe's St. Louis.
There's still a pretty large group of Rams fans in LA, where the team played for decades until coming to Joe's St. Louis in 1995. They have a very active presence on social media, and attending the NFLPA college prospect game is one of their annual events ... all information freely available with a quick click on the internet.
In Joe's quest for answers, he could not get a comment from Austin. So he took the matter straight to the top: the Rams PR department.
Artis Twyman, the team's PR honcho & lover of Turf Show Times (HI ARTIS!), responded:
"I think he just saw Rams fans and took a photo with them."
Seriously, the team's PR director had to take time out of his day to answer a question about a player's off-field behavior ... for posing with fans in another city.
Twyman gave the simple, logical answer, and Austin actually has a pretty good reputation for being approachable to fans. That'll have to be good enough for now.
However, you should know this, potential sleeper agent Tavon Austin, you may think that you can do whatever you want outside the 314, but when you put on that jersey, you're ALWAYS in and of Joe's St. Louis.