Kevin Durant on the Nets' bench in a Dec. 16, 2022 game. Dec 16, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) watches the action from the bench against the Toronto Raptors during the second quarter at the Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ running back Gio Bernard had quite the awkward exchange with reporters in the team’s locker room following a botched fake punt Sunday. Some criticized Bernard for how that played out, but others criticized the media. And Brooklyn Nets‘ star Kevin Durant was in that latter camp. First, though, here’s video of what happened with Bernard, from ESPN’s Jenna Laine:

Bernard started with “Oh, now you guys want to talk to me?”, only for one reporter to point out they’d talked Tuesday and Laine to note that Bernard had been on injured reserve (and thus, not available to media) for much of the season. He then said “Can I go to my family that I have outside?”, and then he eventually responded to all questions with some form of “I was the one that did it,” ignoring what reporters were actually asking about if he knew the call.

As noted, those actions drew both criticism and praise for Bernard. Durant (seen above on the Nets’ bench during a Dec. 16 game), who’s had plenty of exchanges of his own with various media members over the years, definitely wound up on the “praise” side. And he used this as an opportunity to bash the “entitled clickbait media” (a phrase we’re hearing a bunch lately). Here’s how he weighed in on Twitter:

Yes, Bernard doesn’t actually have to answer media questions. Even in cases where media appearances are mandated (typically press conferences, but not locker room interviews), the penalty is only a fine (as Durant and his team are well aware of). And showing up with a no comment or some version of that can even avoid those financial penalties. But, if that was the desired outcome for Bernard, there are seemingly ways to do that without going to “Oh, now you guys want to talk to me?” (of course reporters want to offer him the chance to give his perspective on a crucial play, and his injuries this year meant there weren’t many opportunities to talk to him before this), and ways to just say “No comment” and leave rather than repeating “I was the one who did it” without answering the question.

This is also part of a larger history of media pushback from Durant. And it’s not particularly surprising that he feels this way given some of his past media dust-ups. (And in some of those, he’s had a point, although that’s frequently been more about exchanges with debate show personalities than reporters in locker rooms.) But it is interesting to see him firmly spell out his stance on “spoiled, entitled clickbait media,” and to claim that media aren’t responsible for sports’ popularity, and to use this particular incident as an example of being “a true pro.”

[Photo from Nick Turchiaro/USA Today Sports]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.