Steve Kerr: Russell Westbrook’s Media Strategy ‘Dangerous’

by April 23, 2019

Russell Westbrook‘s hostile approach to reporters is “dangerous for the league,” according to Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.

Westbrook has a well-documented aversion to certain reporters, and routinely brushes off queries with a curt “next question.”

Kerr says players have a responsibility to “feed information to the fans.”

Per The Athletic:

“Next question” is already a favored joke catchphrase around the NBA, with players and coaches winking at Westbrook’s curt handling of The Daily Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel. Just before Game 4, Clippers Doc Rivers joked, “I could say ‘next question,’ but I’m not going to do that,” in response to a reporter’s query.

Westbrook, whose loud play and wardrobe so often command attention, made waves after a Game 3 victory over the Blazers on Friday with tactical silence. After Westbrook used, “next question” on Tramel and stalled, the next reporter asked Paul George about his exclamation dunk at the end of the game. “Next question,” George replied.

“I just feel that we have to be very careful as a league,” Kerr, a former TNT broadcaster, said of Westbrook’s approach and its potential spread. “We’re in a good place right now. Very popular. Fans love the game, the social dynamic, the fashion. But more than anything they love the connection they feel to the players. I think it’s important for the players to understand that it’s a key dynamic to this league. I don’t think this is a healthy dynamic, for this league, for any player, any team, any local media, any national media.”

In Kerr’s view, no communication is different in kind from simply uninspired answers.

“It’s all part of the business,” Kerr said. “You’ve got to feed information to the fans. You don’t have to give a great answer, but it’s dangerous when you go down that path of no communication because one of the reasons people like the league right now is we have a lot of great players, really good guys who handle themselves well. So don’t kill that. You’ve got to keep that going. That’s a big part of the business.”