ESPN pundit has word salad rant about holding Warriors ‘accountable’

Working as an analyst on live television is by no means an easy task, and yet Kendrick Perkins somehow continues to make it look more and more difficult each time he tries to get a point across on ESPN.

Perkins’ latest head-scratcher came in the form of a strange, rambling take regarding the hot topic of the day: Draymond Green’s controversial ejection from Game 1 of the Warriors-Grizzlies series.

After acknowledging that he wasn’t the cleanest of players during his own career, Perkins called out Green and the Warriors for trying to play the victim, and accused them of the oh-so-dreadful crime of mild hypocrisy.

“Draymond is no dummy,” Perkins said. “Like, he has a high IQ, so he knows what he’s doing and he knows what to do and what not to do. The only problem that I have with the Warriors is why they are trying to act like they’re the victims here. They’re not the victims. Draymond Green committed a flagrant foul 2..”

Perkins then tried to point out a contradiction between how the Warriors are acting over Green’s ejection, and how they supposedly acted after Marcus Smart injured Steph Curry’s ankle while diving for a loose ball. The alleged hypocrisy in Perkins’ head is that the Warriors believe Green’s physical play shouldn’t have been punished, whereas hard fouls against the Dubs should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

“See, and this is when it goes back to the point when Marcus Smart dove for the loose ball and Steve Kerr had a panic attack and he was so frustrated on the sideline, claiming that Marcus Smart did it on purpose,” Perkins added with indignity.” “But all of a sudden you get to this moment, and all of a sudden they want to cry wolf.”

He then delivered the punchy kicker to his rant: “Nobody wants to hold Golden State accountable, nobody!”


This whole incoherent spectacle follows the very simple hot take formula: when many people believe one thing, someone then presents the opposite viewpoint as the Actually Correct way of looking at things. Such a move in turn creates an outrage cycle that fuels the content of other news sources (including SFGATE!) because media is an ouroboros. Reporters, current players, former officials and the live broadcast generally agree that Green shouldn’t have been ejected? How about I tell you that Green knew what he was doing and the Warriors are being crybabies about this whole thing instead?

In the grand scheme of things, it makes sense why this — “this” being the perpetually wrong Perkins presenting an audience with a word salad and an alleged point — happened. Contrarian opinions pay big bucks at outlets like ESPN, because of the ensuing conversation, social media interactions and whatever other asinine metrics it generates that media companies believe determines whether something is good for business or not.

Part of what helps make this approach work is the backing of others, so that contrarian opinions can have some sense of base legitimacy when the person making the point doesn’t have a whole lot to work off. This is why you see the tweet pushing out this hot take as “@KendrickPerkins doesn’t hold back on the Warriors” along with the flushed face emoji, and why everyone in the studio is gassing up a nonsensical argument that is rather easy to disprove. The first step in making a take stick is convincing others to feel like they’re in the wrong for believing otherwise.

However, the most important part of amplifying a contrarian take, something that has been very much overlooked in this situation, is that the take needs to be coherent. What Perkins said on national television was not that.

What exactly are the Warriors being called out for here? That they’re upset one of their best players was booted from a playoff game for a call that even numerous NBA players found ridiculous? And the “victims” argument doesn’t make any sense. Green himself said he sees his reputation “a badge of honor,” and noted that he doesn’t think he’s being “picked on.”

As for how the Dubs reacted when their star teammate, Steph Curry, got hurt? The “victim” line of attack also gets wiped away, because Golden State players went out of their way to downplay the notion that Smart’s play was a dirty one.

That just leaves this strange notion that the Warriors aren’t being held accountable enough. But for what, exactly, should they be held accountable for, and who is failing to maintain that accountability? Perhaps there would be an argument for that if the Warriors lost Game 1 and blamed the officials for the loss, but since that didn’t happen on Sunday, there is simply no cogent answer to that question. For what it’s worth, SFGATE has pointed out when things that Warriors say or do are patently ridiculous, but maybe Perkins doesn’t read our publication. Maybe the only site he reads is the one that pays him, which would then imply the people not doing their jobs are his cohor- …never mind.

Distinguishing oneself in the crowded NBA media space as a thought-provoker is a tough task. Yet even when you’re given a leg up as a highly viewed pundit on ESPN, it doesn’t mean the s—t you’ll throw against the wall will stick.

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