Thursday, February 19, 2015

The price of candor

I forgive you, Kevin Durant.

I forgive you for going off on the media the other day, even though the media kind of had it coming this case, even though you've never gone off on the media before.

I forgive you for defending your head coach in a moment of (gasp!) candor, and for telling the media it didn't know (bleep). Because, frankly, sometimes we don't.

I forgive you mainly for being human, a condition for which the media has little tolerance.  Everybody snaps at some point, particularly under the unblinking eye of 24/7/365 scrutiny. You can say, with some justification, that being a celebrity/public figure makes being under 24/7/365 scrutiny a condition of employment, and so no whining allowed. But to also say no being human allowed is to ask the impossible.

It's the oddest thing. Those of us in sports media are constantly complaining that we get nothing of substance from athletes anymore, mainly because athletes don't really need us anymore.  They break their own news now on Twitter or Instagram or Facebook.  To say that makes media types a bit edgy is understating it.

And so, KD, when you went off the other day, we secretly loved it. It was the rare message we got to control -- the classic "gotcha" in what distressingly has become a "gotcha" culture. And if we were at the same time outraged at being the target of your candor, it betrayed our uneasiness at not really being needed anymore. Hence all that nonsense about "biting the hand that feeds you."

I forgive you, Kevin Durant, for calling us out on that. Actually, I thank you for it. Because it was a good reminder, in an age of 24/7/365 media, that no matter how pervasive we've become, we're no more all-that than anyone else. We don't make anyone a star; coaches and parents and work ethic makes stars.     

So, yeah, thanks, KD. And thanks for what you said Tuesday, because it was the straight-up bare-wood truth.

"I had a moment," you said. "Everybody in life has moments. You've had one for sure before, but it's not broadcasted like mine. I was more so trying to take up for my teammates, my coach and other guys in the league that gets scrutinized and I don't like ... What made me more mad than anything I was told I bite the hand that feeds me. I don't know what that means. I really don't know what that means. I wish someone would explain it to me. But I don't remember none of you guys being there when I was 8 years old and putting in that work, the nights when I'm in here putting in that work. So I don't really understand what that one means.

"But, hey, I gotta roll with it. That's a part of it. I was told I shouldn't cry 'cause everybody been through it. So I'm going to shut up."

Do us a favor, KD. Please don't.

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