National Basketball Coaches Association Statement on the January 7, 2018 ESPN Article by Jeff Goodman on Coach Walton and the Lakers:
ESPN and The Walt Disney Corporation have long served as a trusted partner of the NBA and the greater NBA family. NBA Coaches have valued this relationship with ESPN. They have willingly contributed to the network’s broadcasts by participating in “WIRED” segments during games and agreeing to meet with broadcasting crews in advance of games. These meetings provide crucial access and information that enhance the broadcast for viewers. This access has been granted because ESPN has always treated coaches fairly, objectively, and with respect.
Yesterday’s article by Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com regarding Luke Walton was a salacious one-sided story lacking journalistic integrity. The article attacked Coach Walton on the basis of one person’s unsubstantiated opinion. The story failed to provide quotes or perspectives from any players, or from Lakers management, either named or unnamed, verifying the claims made in the story. The article lacks any of the basic fundamental benchmarks and standards of reliable journalism. It is reprehensible and insulting both to our Coaches and to the standards of ESPN.
Luke Walton is working to develop an improving, young LA Lakers roster, which takes years. Luke is an excellent young NBA coach who proved himself in 2015 when, in Steve Kerr’s absence, he led the Golden State Warriors to a record of 24-0 to start the season, which has never been done.
It is regrettable and troubling that ESPN was willing to provide a megaphone for a player’s parent anytime he wishes to share his personal opinion. While the Coaches Association does not believe NBA Coaches should be immune from criticism, the NBCA demands that ESPN, and our other network partners, work harder to ensure a more objective and balanced account in their coverage.
Coach Rick Carlisle
David S. Fogel
NBCA Executive Director