Let's cover quickly the basics of a reporter's job, shall we? I'm supposed to inform. One of the most valuable sources of information for a sports reporter is talking directly to a player. Access is important if you're to get a crucial question answered.
In the U.S., locker room access is granted to all credentialed media, usually ten to fifteen minutes after a game concludes. Frankly, I wouldn't mind a mixed zone, which is how international matches function, but that's not the way it works in American sports.
A press credential specifies basic rules (no autograph requests in the locker room), but there are powerful unspoken ones as well. Generally, the media will approach players who are covered up somewhat. Usually this means they have their pants on, or a towel draped and tucked in around their waist.
Sometimes, players will refuse to speak to the press. That's understandable, and it's not hard to move on to another player for quotes. Other times, a player will ask for a minute to get ready, especially when a TV crew is hovering nearby.
Without going into a blow-by-blow of the incident, Marcos Gonzalez yelled at me to get out of the Columbus Crew locker room last night. I didn't leave when he asked, but it made for an extremely tense outing. I've only had that happen once before, when Dema Kovalenko ordered me out. I didn't go, and Dema only had that one comment, but nothing else comes close.