Stephen A. Smith is here to defend the NBA's two most prominent reporters.
A paragraph from the piece was circulating on social media where an anonymous NBA executive said that "information from insider reporters could help a GM save a buck.
This created an outrage as some claimed that Charania, and by association, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, are creating an environment that is losing money for the players. Smith came to the defense of both his ESPN colleague and Woj's rival from The Athletic.
"People are using that nugget, that graph, that some unnamed executive point out to intimate that insiders like Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania are screwing over players. Ladies and gentlemen, that is false. That's not what's going on here," Smith said.
Smith explained that there is information that is shared to them, and unless there is a confidentiality agreement, both Woj and Shams or any report are free to tell whomever, whatever.
"If I'm covering the league and I have information, and you didn't provide it to me, and there's no confidentiality issues that I'm violating, what's the problem?" Smith said.
He explained that the reporters are just doing their job, and that he understand what they are doing because before he's been in their shoes. Before Smith became a prominent sports debater, he was a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer for over 15 years.
"Adrian Wojnarowski nor Shams Charania owes the players, the GMs, the executives, they don't owe anybody anything. Their job is to report. Remember, this is what I've done for years. As you're talking to a player, an agent, a coach, or whatever, there might be information that you share. What you owe is the confidentiality to the direct people that you communicate with," Smith said.
Smith acknowledged that Wojnarowski is his colleague and that he does have bias toward him over Charania. But he said in this issue, he wants to "protect the industry" and claims that both should be absolved of this criticism.
"Don't hate the players — hate the game. Their better at it then everybody else. Get the f*** over it," Smith said.
However, Smith did not acknowledge The Washington Post story from earlier this month that suggested that the coverage provided by ESPN is potentially influenced by the rivalry between the two news breakers.
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