Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal raised a few relevant issues regarding players’ media interaction after Joel Embiid didn’t do them yesterday.
The subject of how much any sportsperson is obligated to interact with sports media has been a big topic of debate of late. Naomi Osaka brought it to the fore in her standoff with the French Open governors and her eventual withdrawal.
Naomi had never been comfortable speaking to the media in the past – even after monumental, career-defining wins. Her withdrawal from the French Open brought a stream of past videos where she’s seen visibly uncomfortable and depressed in post-game interviews.
This issue is clearly a dicey one to speak about in general terms. However, there’s a big difference between why Joel Embiid stayed away yesterday and why Naomi Osaka did what she did.
The Embiid incident opened a window for some of the most popular, well-loved sportscasters in the Inside crew to talk about it. And they took the opportunity to lay out the nuances of the whole debate much more maturely.
Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal debate whether Joel Embiid should’ve talked post-game
Charles Barkley was emphatic in calling Joel Embiid out for not appearing in the post-game presser. In his mind, it was ducking his responsibilities:
“I wanna say this one thing and I’m not mad, I wanna say this about Joel Embiid. I think he’s a great player and a good kid, but I don’t like it when players don’t talk to the press.”
“Cuz if you have a great game, you run to the microphone. I don’t like it when any player in any sport does this, you should always talk to the press. Because they’re not paying you $35 million to just play basketball.”
Shaq intercepted by insisting that it’s not part of a player’s contract to talk to the press, but Chuck soldiered on.
“The reason those guys are making that money is because TNT and ESPN, we’re paying them a lot of money. I think these guys do have a responsibility. You know, these guys get all bent out of shape.”
“Listen, you should say ‘Hey, you know what, we let one get away’ like Doc Rivers said after Game 4. I would love to see Joel Embiid say ‘You know what, I’ll take responsibility, I’m the best player on this team.”
“Like I said, I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed. You don’t get to talk to the press just when you win. I don’t like that.”
Shaq finally cleared it up by citing his own experiences on the issue:
“I’m not gonna be a hypocrite, I used to do it all the time. Maybe you don’t feel like talking. Listen, you don’t HAVE to, you’re obligated to. If you don’t do it, you don’t have to, even though you’re supposed to.”