When Kevin Durant was asked Sunday about the Celtics fan who childishly pelted Kyrie Irving with a water bottle, the All-Star gave a nuanced response addressing overall fan behavior and the impact of COVID-19 on people’s psyches.
But you wouldn’t know that from reading ESPN’s tweet about the quote. The WorldWide Leader cherrypicked Durant’s lines to make it seem as if he was taking cheap shots at the city.
Here are Durant’s full remarks: “We know how these people are here in Boston, and we know how passionate they are about Kyrie, in particular. They are still upset at him. That’s no reason for them to act childish. Fans got to grow up at some point. I know that being know that being in the house for a year and a half with the pandemic got a lot of people on edge, got a lot of people stressed out, but when you come to these games, you have to realize these men are human. We are not animals, we are not in the circus. You coming to the game is not all about you as a fan. Have some respect for the human beings and have some respect for yourself. Your mother wouldn’t be proud of you throwing water bottles at basketball players or spitting on players or tossing popcorn. So grow the f— up and enjoy the game, it’s bigger than you.”
Here is how ESPN represented his words:
Steph Curry noticed the difference, calling attention to the misrepresentation, and tagging Durant in the process.
At the risk of throwing stones from a glass house, headline writers frame quotes in more explosive ways all of the time. The Sporting News’ story about Durant’s comments, for example, only include his call for fans to “grow the f— up” in the headline. USA Today’s For The Win blog also features those words in its headline.
But neither publication twisted Durant’s understandable frustration to only be about Celtics fans, or an indictment on Boston as a whole. Also, Durant’s full quotes are in both corresponding stories.
There is no corresponding story to the ESPN tweet.
Those who distrust ESPN around these parts just received some new material.