Exclusive by DC Livers
(BlackPressRadio.net) – Things have gotten down right intense, unprofessional and disrespectful inside the NBA Bubble. As much as they try to clean it up for the cameras, the NBA has yet to address the systematic racism that lives inside the league.
Sources tell BlackPressRadio exclusively that many players – and some coaches – are especially angry because some of the people who are supposed to be there to help them get their messages across may be actually suppressing the information instead. They’re taking aim at three women including two reporters – one White, one mixedish and the Black woman in charge of the NBA Players Association.
Sports newbie Malika Andrews who works for ESPN, journalism veteran Lori Nickel who works for The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Michele Roberts who heads up the NBA Players Association are all under fire for their actions Inside the NBA Bubble.
Malika Andrews is a newbie to the sports industry so in someways you gotta allow her to make a lot of rookie mistakes but at the same time, the way that ESPN is pushing her shows they know what they’re doing. She’s not naive and seems perfectly happy to skip ahead of her co-workers who have put in more work.
At times, Andrews seems to be enjoying the attention and spotlight which has made some people question how she got the job in the first place. Andrews, who has an art degree seemed to come out of nowhere and was quickly “fast tracked” in the cutthroat sports media world. Her social media posts center around her outfits and her “look at me” moments.
Andrews is no stranger to players who feel she’s unprofessional or just there for a clout chase but ESPN seems to be doubling down on her presence and it’s not going unnoticed.
I’ve met Malika a few times when she came to Madison Square Garden. She seems nice but a bit standoffish, which is fine to me because you can’t afford to get too friendly in this league. That’s why I personally attempted to contact Malika nearly a day before the NBA Boycott happened because I was given a heads up by my confidential sources.
I didn’t want her to look stupid on camera but I was shocked that she just ignored it. What would happen next has been a sort of a train wreck in the sense that the Black community now feels pause when she’s on TV.
At one point, Andrews actually appeared to milk the situation by making it seem that she was somehow profoundly affected by what was happening around her. She did interviews and went on a podcast and basically seemed to want to move the spotlight away from the players, the shooting victims and the movement to place it squarely on her.
Lori Nickel is not someone I actually know. To be honest, I’d never heard of her prior to her crass decision to completely ignore George Hill’s pain, anguish and pleas to be heard.
She thundered in with a silly question about basketball causing Hill to immediately snap back and tell her, “This is not the time to be talking about basketball.” He became so upset that he cussed and basically many in the media say her lack of tolerance quite possibly was the straw that broke the camels back making him realize that some reporters weren’t going to help the players get their messages out.
Nickel’s replied on Twitter the hoopla saying, “After Game 4 Monday, Giannis Antetokounmpo talked to us on videoconference Zoom call at exact same time George Hill talked on another zoom call. I was watching both press conferences but had George’s first question muted in case I was called on to ask Giannis a question,” Nickel admits she wasn’t paying attention to Hill’s answers.
In her defense, covering the NBA Bubble has been very dizzy for all of us. I’ve shared with my own audience that it feels 24/7 and that the NBA should be paying all of us to provide coverage because it feels non-stop.
“Once [the] Bucks messaged me to say they were ready for my question for George, I unmuted his videoconferene [sic] call right away and asked my basketball question. Didn’t know George wanted to focus his answers on Jacob Blake’s story from Kenosha. I didn’t press for morere hoops questions,” Nickel continue in a three-part tweet. “So I later sent Bucks PR a text apologizing; if I had known, I wouldn’t have asked George questions aby out the Game 4 win. Don’t know if George got [my] apology but I welcome any dialog with him because I’ve worked with him for 2 years.”
That’s all well and good but sadly, Nickel is forever cemented in NBA History as the reporter who may have set off George Hill. Thankfully for her, the next question came from a guy who seemed to “get it” and helped Hill finish up his thoughts on the situation.
Michele Roberts is actually someone I know. For many years, Roberts was someone I had great respect for if for no other reason than she was a Black woman at the game where I so often was the only Black female reporter covering the game. It made me feel less alone in those situations but over time I came to see she’s very much committed to the league, not necessarily the players. More than once – especially when it counted – Roberts did not have my back on a situation that is leading to a sexual assault lawsuit against a player.
I honestly understood when player Patrick Beverly told Roberts “I pay your paycheck” because many players have expressed to me their frustration with feeling isolated and unheard.
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