Social Media

The Warriors White House Story Is Viral B.S.

One unsubstantiated tweet doesn't make the story true

Social Media
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Jun 13, 2017 at 11:49 AM ET

The Golden State Warriors will skip the traditional post-championship visit to the White House. It’s a done deal, according to single tweet from a CNBC analyst, Joshua M. Brown, a financial advisor and CEO of Ritholtz Wealth Management, who attributed the news to “reports.”

The problem is, at the time of Brown’s tweet, there were no other “reports” from NBA Oracle Adrian Wojnarowski or any of the other information merchants, not from the army of ESPN reporters in attendance, nor from any of the Warriors beat writers for him to cite. The reports do not exist.

Reached for comment, Brown said via Twitter DM that this tweet from Mike Sington, the former director of operations at Universal Studios, was the basis for his claim. According to Brown, he saw Sington’s “exclusive” as well as similar tweets being shared by verified accounts, so, “I added ‘per reports’ because [it] didn’t seem to be confirmed anywhere.” he said.

A few minutes later, Sington also tweeted, also without attribution and again claiming an “exclusive,” that NBC would be pulling Megyn Kelly’s interview with Alex Jones. Sington did not respond to a request for comment. A search of Sington’s timeline shows many so-called “scoops” that are unsourced and amount to him playing a guessing game.

As to why Sington might have decided to toss out this bit of idle speculation, a Twitter search reveals a slew of fans wondering whether the Warriors will be the first team to bail on the president in the hours following the team’s 129-120 win in game five, including Sports Illustrated’s media reporter, Richard Deitsch, who made this promise.

Imaginary reports or not, it didn’t stop Shaun King and DeRay McKesson from giving the story a serious signal boost, while Twitter itself lumped all the chatter into a Twitter moment 30 minutes after Brown’s initital tweet.

https://twitter.com/deray/status/874590795235545088

From there, the Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionUproxx, ProBasketballTalk, ProFootballTalk, Vibe, The IndependentDaily Kos, the New York Daily News, and many other outlets all ran with the story, based solely on Brown’s say so, and without seeking out confirmation from the team itself. Raw Story did include an embedded tweet from a reporter with ABC’s affiliate station in the Bay Area, saying the team was declining to comment and The Hill was nice enough to add a question mark to its headline, “Will NBA champion Warriors skip White House visit?” and note that “it was unclear what reports [Brown] was citing.”

But the idea that the Warriors, in the midst of guzzling down champagne would take the time to engage in a serious and lengthy debate, requires at least a raised eyebrow. You’d think that if they’d come to this conclusion, unanimously, mind you, at least one of the plugged-in NBA reporters would have gotten wind of the news or at least would have verified Brown’s “reporting.”

Sure, it’s not only possible but likely that some percentage or even all of the Warriors will not go to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for a protracted photo op. However, Brown and Signton’s unfounded speculation about what transpired in the Warriors’ locker room late last night is hardly proof, even if one accounts for the fact that many of the Warriors have been open in their criticism of the president.

Head coach Steve Kerr, whose father was murdered by terrorists in Beirut, has not let up since election night. Kerr called Trump’s stalled Muslim Ban a “shocking and horrible idea,” adding, “You want to solve terror? You want to solve crime? This is not the way to do it.” In May, he described Trump as a “blowhard” who “has no regard for compassion or empathy.”

Even a politics-averse athlete like Stephen Curry couldn’t resist getting in a shot. After Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank called Trump a “real asset,” Curry countered, “I agree with that description, if you remove the ‘et’.”

But it’s going to take more than an unsubstantiated early-morning viral tweet before anyone can say for sure. And if you’re wondering how bullshit like this can gain traction, well, it’s because a great many people, including high-profile individuals like King and McKesson, would very much like it to be true. Even if the story does turn out to be true, in its present form, it’s speculative nonsense being peddled by unsourced entities.

Vocativ reached out to the Warriors but did not receive a response prior to publication. We will update this story if they choose to comment.

UPDATE: The Warriors have released a statement confirming that no decision has been made about a possible White House visit.