Last week, Draymond Green boldly declared the wave of professional athletes joining sports shows represents the “new media.” Fox Sports Radio’s Rob Parker, one of the industry’s elder statesmen, says not so fast.
Green made the comment after Chris “Mad Dog” Russo attacked him with a “shut up and dribble” style opinion on ESPN’s First Take. Russo’s tired take prompted Green to claim, “the landscape of media is about to change…the ‘new media’, you will be held accountable and you will have to know what you’re talking about in order to speak on these sports…You know why? Because we’re doing it now.”
On his Fox Sports Radio show co-hosted by Chris Broussard, Parker recently pushed back on Green’s comments. Parker’s criticism of Green wasn’t an effort to defend Russo, but he challenged the idea of athletes taking over the media with their sights set on covering themselves.
“The notion that he’s the ‘new media’ and a new sheriffs in town, and they’re going to hold people accountable if you say something, I just find that to be comical,” Parker ranted. “He could not be more wrong.”
“Most former players aren’t the media,” Parker continued. “THEY have a narrative. THEY are the ones holding and keeping secrets from fans, they’re not giving you the ‘real’. Yeah, they’re giving you the big interviews, but they don’t ask the questions that we want to hear.”
Draymond Green, JJ Redick, and Pat McAfee are among the hundreds of athletes with successful podcasts or shows. And while they get the big guests, they sometimes leave a lot to be desired in terms of the information they draw out of interviews. McAfee, for example, provides a safe place for Aaron Rodgers to speak candidly, but he was also criticized for not challenging the Green Bay Packers quarterback with follow-ups when controversial topics were broached.
“You guys are all phonies, and to walk around and acting like you’re media members. You’re not media members because you don’t have to answer to anybody,” Parker ranted. “You don’t have any formal training, you don’t even know what it is to be a reporter…I cannot stress this enough. STOP listening to these guys who act like reporters. I cringe every time I watch a player interview another player because I know we’re not going to get anything.”
The trend of athletes establishing themselves as media members is an overall win for sports fans. It provides unprecedented access and insight into the leagues and their star players. But that doesn’t mean classically trained broadcasters and reporters are about to be replaced.
There’s no room for “shut up and dribble” takes in sports media, but there’s certainly still a need and benefit to having journalists who are willing to ask tough questions and provide unbiased reporting.