After the Warriors’ Game 3 loss, Steve Kerr said he didn’t anticipate changing his starting lineup. Asked again yesterday morning, he said Andrew Bogut would start at center. Asked yet again yesterday pregame, Kerr said there would be no change to Golden State’s starting lineup.
Well, Andre Iguodala started for Bogut in Game 4.
We made the decision this morning. And so when I was asked today – I think Tim Kawakami asked me if Bogut was starting – I lied.
No, I did. I mean, I lied.
I figure I have two press conferences on the day of the game, so I’m asked a lot of strategic questions. So my options were tell the truth ‑ and I was asked both at shootaround and before the game. So, if I tell the truth, it’s the equivalent of me knocking on David Blatt’s door and saying, “Hey, this is what we’re going to do.” I could evade the question, which would start this Twitter phenomenon. Who is going to start for the Warriors? Or I could lie.
So, I lied. Sorry.
But I don’t think they hand you the trophy based on morality. They give it to you if you win. So, sorry about that.
Not every coach could get away with this without major backlash. Kerr will.
He has a great relationship with the media overall, and he put this in the most friendly tone possible. Everyone will laugh this off.
But this should be an important lesson to reporters and readers of those reporters.
I believe most professional coaches and athletes would prefer to be truthful publicly. But they have priorities that rank far above being truthful publicly.
So, many of them are willing to lie publicly if it helps achieve something they deem more important – like winning a championship or securing the best contract possible. That willingness only increases when they’re granted the cloak of anonymity. Then, they can lie with little to no repercussions.
If a reporter had granted Kerr anonymity to leak that Golden State wouldn’t change starters, not only would he have still thrown off the Cavaliers, Kerr wouldn’t have to answer for his lie. We’d never know he was the source.
Situations like that play out countless times. Sometimes, it’s possible to verify a claim given by someone granted anonymity. But sometimes, it’s not. If no assistant coaches or players were talking, nobody could have successfully checked whether the Warriors actually were keeping the same starting lineup. It would have been easy for Kerr to find a reporter willing to publish “Warriors won’t change starters in Game 4, according to a source.”
But Kerr attached his name to his lie, and that’s a big reason he should escape this without backlash.
Kerr isn’t competing to explain his game plan to the public. He’s competing to win a championship.
If you don’t understand that – and this extends especially to any reporter who would have allowed Kerr to anonymously leak that the starters would remain the same – that’s your fault.