Dan Le Batard

When news broke of the Boston Celtics suspending head coach Ime Udoka for at least one full season, it sparked a lot of nuanced conversation and reporting that Dan Le Batard believes was irresponsible.

Adrian Wojnarowski, Shams Charania, Adam Schefter and other insiders are excellent at reporting on hires, fires, trades and signings. It’s easy to trust their reporting on those transactions. Stephen A. Smith is great at taking a side when analyzing those transactions; it’s easy to see the showmanship and entertainment value he brings daily. But those credentials don’t necessarily make them apt to discuss or report on a sexual relationship between two adults.

“In this sphere, they’ve already shown to be lacking. And this is the latest example,” Le Batard said of the coverage that surrounded the Udoka story. As an example of sports reporters having “already shown to be lacking” while covering similar topics, Le Batard cited Schefter’s irresponsible reporting on Dalvin Cook last year.

“The coverage on this was wrong,” Le Batard continued of Udoka. “It wasn’t journalistically sound. It’s where Twitter and the need to be first shape journalism. Journalism is supposed to start that conversation, not be so infected by the needs of social media to have it contaminated so that what happens is victims become more victims because we still trust the reporting that is compromised.”

Twitter has trained the media to prioritize being first over right. If someone happens to get a detail on a trade incorrect, it’s not a big deal. But if someone rushes to report on a sexual relationship between two adults and get an aspect of that story wrong, there could be significant ramifications for one or both of the parties involved in the incident.

Shams Charania was quick to quantify Udoka’s relationship with a female member of team staff as “consensual,” but later reported the woman accused the Celtics’ head coach of making “unwanted comments” after new details emerged. Should we wait for all details to emerge before reporting on consent? Stephen A. Smith blamed the Celtics for leaking the reason they were suspending Udoka and questioned whether the woman involved should be named. Should Smith have held off on broadcasting those takes as public information remained scarce in the hours after Udoka’s suspension was announced?

“How many different credibility type of things do I have to put in front of you before you start saying, ‘It kind of matters that it’s being covered sh*tty,’” Le Batard said.

When the story broke, dozens of analysts and thousands of fans began speaking about a topic as if they had all the information, when in fact, they were just blindly trusting and dangerously speculating on the little information that was available. As the parties involved in the Udoka incident attempted to keep private, many reporters and analysts rushed to be first in leaking information or giving a hot take. That’s an unnecessarily dangerous place for any sports media member to put themselves in.

[Dan Le Batard Show]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to bcontes@thecomeback.com