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James Schumacher

Athletes Are Not Happy With Fake Sports News

Photo courtesy: James Schumacher


It’s no secret the sports media can be unfair and biased towards athletes. In fact, an overwhelming majority of sports reporters are that way—there is seemingly no honor among them. While sitting up in a press box or on their couch, sports reporters throw shade, call names, and act condescending.


Over the last week, Portland Trail Blazers star point guard Damian Lillard has indicated he has a major issue with the sports media. And he’s right. Just turn on sports radio, turn on sports television, or read something from any of the mainstream sports sites—the egotism and self-importance is unbearable. It’s become clickbait media that is more worried about getting likes and RTs than getting the story right.


The issue started after the Kyrie Irving reports exploded, with Irving reportedly asking the Cavaliers to trade him. Bleacher Report, which is the king of clickbait and stealing, took a portion of a Damian Lillard quote from Sports Illustrated (The Crossover) and tried to make it into something else by just putting “who wouldn’t want to go to the Finals every year?”


Just watch the video and you can tell Lillard’s tone is not as implied in the Bleacher Report quote. He was asked a rather dull question of whether Irving would like being in his situation, and Lillard responded by saying he’d like to be in the Finals every year like Irving has been. Bleacher Report ignored the question, ignored the tone, and simply used the quote for clickbait. Lillard was not happy.



Lillard also then agreed with a suggestion about players potentially not doing interviews anymore, while agreeing that accounts can spin things any way they please.




The Blazers 25+ point scorer then went on to say “None of us have been in [Irving’s] shoes. You’ve got to respect his mind and his heart.” But again, Bleacher Report decided to make that clicky and trendy quote, with the caption, “Dame chimes in on the Kyrie drama.”


Bleacher Report, which blatantly uses clickbait, also steals many of these quotes they use without giving credit. After MMQB’s Peter King called them out on it, they seem to always give credit now, with a small H/T (hat tip) on the post. But King was not happy with what Bleacher Report did.



King is a respected writer of nearly 30 years, and he had a right to be mad. There was no link to King’s exclusive interview, just a quote B/R stole and essentially branded as their own. Bleacher Report deleted the tweet, so they know they were wrong. But it’s still an issue, as shown with this Lillard fiasco, and reflects poorly on them.


Then yesterday, I read this story on ESPN. (Fake news, I know. But I happened to see the headline saying something about Irving following Kobe, implying he received advice—which was not the case in the article, which has a different title than the headline I read.)


You are free to read for yourself, but the writer of the article basically called Damian Lillard a loser in the article about Kyrie Irving. I thought it was distasteful and unfair to Lillard—who I was hoping wouldn’t see it because it can’t feel too great reading that.


Sure enough, Lillard saw the article and responded today.



LeBron James is even having recent issues with fake sports news about him, with a couple of stories claiming to know what James is thinking.






Lillard is right to be tired of the sports media twisting his words—or suggesting he isn’t a winner. And James is right to be upset with “sources” that are flat-out made up. Honor is all but lost, as there is too much superiority and snobbery from the mainstream sports media. Bleacher Report and ESPN are the biggest culprits, but there are more guilty parties.


It’s great for athletes like Damian Lillard to give interviews to media companies. Fans get to hear from them in ways they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. But it’s tough to blame Lillard, and others, if they simply decide against it. And it’s unfortunate some bad apple media companies and people are causing players to feel that way.


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