Giovani BernardPhoto: Getty Images
ESPN’s Jenna Laine released video of Giovani Bernard’s exchange with the media in the locker room after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost 34-24 to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Bernard was asked about a botched fake punt in the third quarter. It was a legitimate question. He botched the snap, but it wasn’t just that he dropped the ball. Bernard didn’t seem ready for the snap.
He wasn’t keen on explaining what happened in the play. and initially said that he did not want to talk about the play. Laine later tweeted that Bernard also told the media, “Oh, now you guys want to talk to me.” That’s when the scrum got irritated.
The video begins with the reporters reacting to this statement, clearly dissatisfied and expressed in a way that made it appear as if they were conspiring against him. Nobody was more upset than Fox Sports’ Greg Auman. He was the person in the video who said he spoke to Bernard earlier in the week and also asked, “What did you do to make us talk to you throughout the year?”
Bernard was certainly on the defensive from the start, but the only person who actually said anything offensive was Auman. This was a personal recording and totally inappropriate. Auman tweeted this on Tuesday he was wrong and will apologize to Bernard the next time he sees him.
Since the video went viral, a rerun of Player vs. Reporter has been played out on social media and articles. Kevin Durant – whose eye is always watching you on social media – chimed in, saying the media claim had it to get out of control.
There was tension in the NBA Media Scrum Moment with WSB-TV’s Trae Young and Zach Klein bringing back the classic debate. Young gave a general statement on the situation, and Klein rightly pressed him for the details of the report, which described Young having had a falling out with Atlanta Hawks coach Nate McMillan and as a result not standing on the sidelines for a game.
Of course, the public had their harsh opinions about the interaction, but while both sides didn’t look good at the moment, neither was clearly doing anything wrong, although Klein tried a bit too hard to get a response from Young. The original follow-up was a bit aggressive, but it was fair. Then Klein continued and Young became increasingly irritated. He made it quite clear that he would not comment on the report in any way, but Klein would not back down. While neither side stepped out of line, Klein should have relaxed after the second follow-up.
Laine went to a lot of trouble, both for posting the clip and for her comments on the video, as she told Bernard that one of the reasons the media hasn’t spoken to him much is his injury. She later tweeted that players on IR don’t talk to the media. He has spent much of the season at IR but has played in the last three games.
Bernard has been in the NFL for more than a decade. It’s very reasonable to think he knew he’d be asked about one of the game’s most notable plays. If he didn’t want to talk about it, that’s his prerogative, but he escalated the situation with the comment he made. Reporters would become defensive, especially if they hadn’t had much opportunity to speak to him and had spoken to him less than seven days ago.
He ended up answering a few questions about the failed play, although he did so in a way where his intention seemed more evasive than genuinely accepting the blame.
Again, there are nuances that need to be applied to the situation. Bernard could have left the dressing room quickly by making nothing more than a no comment. Instead, he nudged the bear a little and got a curt reply. One person, Auman, went too far and acted unprofessionally.
The battle over who is right or wrong in these player versus media situations will never end. This particular round is a 10-8 for the players due to a point deduction for a low hit. A hit seen because a member of the media posted the interaction.
Nuance, it’s good for you.