While Draymond Green may not be disrupting the media industry the way he believes, the Golden State Warriors forward has at least contributed to the growing tendency of current athletes speaking into their own microphones.
Jemele Hill recently joined The Dan Le Batard Show to promote her upcoming book Uphill: A Memoir, which will be released next week. During the segment, they discussed Green’s “new media” narrative. Hill attributed that to the way athletes have been treated and covered, specifically Black athletes.
“This is the reckoning for our industry in traditional media,” Hill said. “For a long time, and still continually, our business was not diverse, it was not inclusive. And when that’s the default operation, the people you’re alienating at some point will get tired of it and decide to tell their own stories and decide to build their own platforms.
“Even though it has created this idea that everybody with a microphone is a journalist, in some ways we’re responsible for that because of how we’ve covered professional athletes,” Hill continued. “Especially Black athletes, with how we’ve covered entertainment, especially Black entertainers, so this is just a byproduct of them frankly being sick of our sh*t.”
Part of that “sh*t” is the tendency to treat professional athletes like inanimate objects rather than human beings with emotion. But it’s also the expectation that professional athletes should devote all their time into being great at the sport they play and then unfairly expect them to continue performing during interviews.
Pro athletes are a little quirky. Any person who devotes that much time, effort and skill to being great at one thing is a little quirky. Not all of them are going to be great in front of a microphone. But the media often has unrealistic expectations as to how athletes should act or sound during interviews or pressers.
Hill recognizes there is value in Green and other athletes talking into their own microphones, but she also acknowledged that just having a podcast doesn’t make someone a journalist.
“While the core of this job, as you know, is holding people in positions of power or influence accountable, I understand why these outlets have sprung up,” Hill told Le Batard. “Why Draymond Green is talking about new media not understanding that the core function of journalism is to challenge everything. And they don’t do that…You having a podcast with your buddy is not the same as them sitting down with a trained journalist.”
A trained journalist who is apt in asking questions and being critical. Players having their own outlets and space in the media can be entertaining, but if the goal remains to create their own narrative, then it will never replace traditional journalism.