Reggie Miller was an announcer during last night’s Lakers-Rockets game, and he took issue with the article in ESPN the Magazine in which writer Henry Abbott quoted anonymous sources to bury Kobe Bryant. “I just feel it’s a coward’s approach to journalism,” Miller said. “I’m not saying everything in Henry Abbott’s article is wrong. It very well could be all right. But if there’s general managers, if there’s players, then put your name to it. Don’t be anonymous. Put your name to it so we can put a microphone in front of you. Why should Kobe Bryant have to answer all the questions about it later when everyone else is hiding behind the shield?”
This is a little bit tricky, and some of what Miller is saying does have some merit. Obviously basketball isn’t foreign war correspondence where you have a duty to the human race to uncover the truth, but Abbott’s job for this story was to present an accurate representation of interesting behind-the-scene circumstances. That almost certainly would not have been possible if he were only going by what he was told on the record.
That being said, Miller’s issue is not as much with the writer — who’s more or less doing his job — as with the sources. It is cowardly in this case to say that your words can be used to smear somebody, but never have to answer for it. That being said, this isn’t a practice that is gonna go out of style anytime soon.
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