Stephen A Smith defended Cincinnati Enquirer sports columnist Paul Daugherty after his questions made Naomi Osaka break down in tears. Daugherty asked her about benefitting from media attention while refusing to speak to reporters.
“You’re not crazy about dealing with us, especially in this format. Yet you have a lot of outside interests that are served by having a media platform,” Daugherty asked. “How do you balance the two?”
Osaka walked out of the conference for a brief pause. It caused the tennis pro’s agent to brand him as a ‘bully’ and accusing him of ‘really appalling behavior.’
“The bully at the Cincinnati Enquirer is the epitome of why player/media relations are so fraught right now,” Duguid said. “Everyone on that Zoom will agree that his tone was all wrong and his sole purpose was to intimidate. Really appalling behavior.
“And this insinuation that Naomi owes her off-court success to the media is a myth – don’t be so self-indulgent.”
ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith doesn’t see the situation the same as the agent while calling it an “incredibly fair” inquiry.
“Based off of that press conference, I thought the reporter was incredibly fair and incredibly delicate with how he asked the question,’ Smith said on ESPN’s First Take. ‘Then, the moderator said, “Would you like to move on?”
“I’m trying to figure out what the reporter did wrong,” Smith added. “I didn’t see that. And for the agent to come out with a statement basically accusing the journalist of bullying her, I’m like what? What are you talking about?
“If you are a journalist and that is what we classify as bullying, then as a journalist you get to go up there and the only thing you can say is, “What would you like to talk about?” to anybody.”