"A necessary evil" is probably the most common sentiment among players when discussing the media (although there's often a sneaky peak at the papers the day after a good performance).
This week, the comments of some of the England players has brought the nature of this relationship into sharp relief. The pressmen have certainly punched hard following the first Ashes Test defeat, while the players have suggested that they are aiming their blows in the wrong direction, that they should be fighting for the same side.
It's an interesting thought that the world of sport should perhaps use the media as an extension of their own propaganda department. The Australians have a master of spin on the field; perhaps the England team should have one in the press box?
Sir Clive Woodward tried this on the recent British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand, with appalling results.
It might not have been Sir Clive's best selection to involve the man who has come to embody Labour's detested spin department, but nevertheless it demonstrated that the world of sports media is not yet ready to be manipulated or to have someone stand between it and the players.
I think that sport hacks assume that the message is generally pretty clear and that it doesn't need interpretation by a third party. However, given the power of the press, it does make sense to harness it and have its considerable force behind the team rather than having a head-on confrontation.
Criticism always hurts and I can sympathise with the England players who feel unjustly attacked. After all this is the same team that has taken the plaudits over the last couple of years. Then they play poorly in one match and are subjected to a barrage of critical comment.
But it was ever thus, and it's not restricted to the British media. Just take a look at the press the West Indies team has received over the last year or two.
The hope that the British press will bite their tongues during the most hyped Test series of recent memory, to resist the urge to criticise too strongly too quickly, was wishful thinking, but that doesn't make the idea wrong.
The relationship is, of course, symbiotic - the game clearly would not receive the sponsorship it does without the coverage it receives. And I guess each reporter would say that his/her coverage is balanced and fair.
At county level, there is generally a very good relationship between reporters and players, but with the intensity of international cricket, it seems this relationship becomes turbulent, with each partner questioning the others' true intentions.
From the outside, it certainly makes for interesting reading. But then I guess that is the point after all.