It used to just be Draymond Green vs Charles Barkley, but the Golden State Warriors forward and self-dubbed crusader of old media has more recently turned his attention toward Stephen A. Smith.
Monday night, following Golden State’s Game 5 NBA Finals victory over the Boston Celtics, Green joined Scott Van Pelt’s SportsCenter and criticized Smith, determining that the First Take host is sometimes the new media, but sometimes he’s still the old media. Tuesday on First Take, Smith responded and attempted to make sense of this old media vs new media war that Green’s attempting to wage.
“I don’t call it ‘old media,’ you know what I call it? Being real and being accountable,” Smith said. “Which is why the new breed of wanna-be journalists or whatever you want to call yourselves have no chance in hell of ever replacing us. Because the level of objectivity that people like myself bring to the table is not something we have to concern ourselves about when it comes to the modern-day athlete. It is a struggle, and rightfully so, to talk about your own contemporaries in a very, very critical way.”
It’s hard for anyone to remain fully objective, especially as social media allows athletes to publicly respond to media criticism. And while Stephen A. Smith might not always seem objective with Kyrie Irving and Skip Bayless might not always be objective when it comes to LeBron James, it remains much harder for current players to objectively call out their peers. Meaning, the so-called “new media” has its own narrative.
Smith said he’s happy to give current and former athletes a platform on his show, but noted, “do you think they’d be on First Take if I didn’t want them on First Take?” JJ Redick, Patrick Beverley, CJ McCollum, and others are not an example of the “new media” infiltrating First Take, they’re an example of Smith seeking some friction for his debate show.
“The difference is that you have a lot of players, when you talk about new media vs old media. They get on you for calling them out,” Smith continued. “And here’s my warning to all of them. I’m watching. Let’s see what you do once your playing career is over, and you’re sitting in these seats permanently and you gotta call it like you see it.”
Uh oh, he’s watching. NBA players now have the pressure of performing with eyes on them. But after issuing his warning, Smith made a peace offering to Green, with a sort of “it’s not you, it’s them” sentiment.
“Draymond ain’t one of those dudes,” Smith claimed. “He’s a good dude, good people, he’s doing a hell of a job, he’s gonna be a star in this business one day.”
But if we’re talking about athletes who get annoyed when they’re criticized by traditional media, Green is absolutely one of those dudes. And if we’re talking about athletes who don’t want to criticize their brethren, we’re still just figuring out if he’s one of those dudes.