Early this morning, someone by the name of Josh Brown, who works for CNBC, tweeted out that the Golden State Warriors would be skipping a Donald Trump White House visit based on a unanimous team decision.
It was attributed to “per reports,” though we could find no single reporter reporting it before that tweet. No identities of the source for those claims are listed. Brown doesn’t cover the NBA and doesn’t have a history of breaking news when it comes to the Golden State Warriors.
No NBA reporter has yet to send out any confirmation that the Warriors are, as a group, refusing to go to the White House. No one has even posted anything saying that they have sources that such a discussion occurred right after the game. (Sure, the first thing they did after Kevin Durant failed at crushing beers was to talk about the White House immediately–that’s sarcasm font).
I found only this from Shaun King that came out after that first tweet, but again, King has an agenda, and doesn’t cite sources–even anonymous ones within the locker room–so it’s not clear if he’s just passing on this tweet in a 2017 version of the whisper game.
[UPDATE: The Warriors organization has responded to these circulated rumors now. ]
Look, would it be surprising if the Golden State Warriors actually visited the White House as a team? Yes, it would. Molly Knight laid out a few months ago how the Patriots could be the last professional team to visit the White House for a while. We know that Steve Kerr has been behind only Gregg Popovich in speaking out against the current president. We know that several NBA players, including those on the Warriors, have spoken out.
We also, by the way, don’t know if Trump will actually invite the Golden State Warriors since he may take the proactive step of acting like he doesn’t want to meet with them.
But the “reports” this morning? That would be like me saying that Trump is going to send out an angry tweet this week, per reports. Yeah, I’m likely to be proven right. Doesn’t mean I’m right in saying it and have people report it as true.
Yet predictably, several outlets have picked up on this shell game of reporting, where there is no actual source or reporter saying that it happened. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran with it, as have NBC Sports, the Independent, New York Daily News, Kansas City Star, Vibe, and others that roll in every minute.
This is the perfect storm for a story with flimsy and non-existent reporting. The thing being claimed is almost certainly to prove true, even if there’s no basis for saying the team had a meeting right after the game to decide it. It’s on a hot topic, and it’s about politics, which people get passionate about.
But we have to do a little better.