I’m all for a player speaking his/her mind to the media as long as he/she uses good judgment and keeps the interest in mind of all parties involved.
Kevin Durant isn’t a bad guy. I have never met him, but I can tell by how he acts. To my knowledge, he’s never been arrested or gotten into trouble with the law. However, he has developed a shorter-than-usual temper with the media over the last few seasons.
What he displayed to the media over NBA All-Star Weekend provides evidence of that.
If he continues to do this, he will only dig himself a deeper and deeper hole against a machine that could either help him get out or help him go deeper.
Working as a sports editor, the first thing I privately tell an athlete is “Don’t burn bridges with the people who can either help or hinder your name.”
O.K., I haven’t told an athlete that and nor would I, but it actually makes sense. The media can either boost or destroy an athlete’s name and reputation. It happens to celebrities all the time even though that’s a whole different animal.
The rules are the same for journalists as they are for athletes. A journalist should also use good judgment and not take words out of context. Report what happened, not sort of what happened.
Some journalists just want information. Some journalists are more hardcore and will test an athletes’ patience. In my opinion, the only time a journalist should be “hardcore” is during a personal, one-on-one interview.
Back to Kevin Durant.
He openly apologized on Feb. 18 for his tirade over All-Star Weekend where he made journalists look like the “bad guy.” I understand that he is probably asked 1,000 times a day what he thinks of head coach Scott Brooks, or if he thinks Brooks should be fired, or if he thinks Brooks is doing a good job. I understand it’s probably annoying for him to answer the same questions over and over and over again, but there is no excuse to blast the media. When he said, “You guys really don’t know (expletive),” on Saturday, he was partly right. Then, he went all Marshawn Lynch on the media and said, “I’m only here because I have to be.”
That’s not setting an example, Kevin. You’re better than that, Kevin.
If the media knew about Brooks’ job security, it probably wouldn’t have asked him about it. It probably would have asked him what he thought about it. But since he is the star and face of the Oklahoma City Thunder, reporters are going to ask him.
Now he retracted his statement and said he will “try to get along and be honest with the media.” That’s all the media was asking you to do in the first place, Kevin. Let’s see how long it lasts.
The media hasn’t said one thing to damage his reputation in the eight years he has been in the NBA.
I will defend Durant because of one major, glaring thing. Some sportswriters or reporters don’t have a clue about the sports they are required to cover. It happens everywhere. Those are the people conversing with Durant at every press conference.
Remember when teachers told us, “There is no such thing as a stupid question”?
In the meantime, take it easy on us, Kevin.