TNT Reporter Under Fire for Question

posted by Steve Bortstein -

There is no proper or acceptable way to grieve. No matter the person, we deal with death in whatever capacity suits us. 

We mourn, we celebrate, we remember in our own very unique way. There's no textbook which tells you as an individual that there is only way to deal with the loss of someone you may have known.

That said, the passing of Erin Popovich, longtime wife of San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, is likely to be a talking point around the sports world in the coming days, particularly today and later tonight when the Spurs host Game 3 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series against the Golden State Warriors.

LeBron James laughing at Gregg Popovich 670

Last night, just moments after the Cleveland Cavaliers won Game 2 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Indiana Pacers, LeBron James was approached by TNT sideline reporter Allie LaForce for a game recap.

During that interview, LaForce asked James to comment on the news of the passing of Erin Popovich.

As I wrote above, there is no one acceptable way to grieve. 

But this wasn't about grieving.

This was exploitation. Pure and simple.

I cannot imagine being the producer sitting in a truck somewhere outside the arena and wanting to make that question part of the postgame recap.

I understand journalism and the art of wanting the soundbyte, the live reaction and the words of "thoughts and prayers", but this wasn't about a genuine reaction on the part of TNT. This was about promoting the idea of life being bigger than basketball.

I don't -- for a moment -- think we needed this question and answer session to remind us of that. Or at least I'd hope that we didn't need that moment.

Gregg Popovich

While we await word of Gregg Popovich's status for tonight's Game 3, we also got this little added tidbit.

The viral reaction to the Q&A session was not good.

Many took exception with LaForce for asking James about the death of Erin Popovich. Many called out the network for the uncomfortable moment.

James, in response to the criticism, took to his Uninterrupted website's Twitter account for a video remark of his own, at which point he reveals that he knew of Erin's passing earlier that evening and was made aware of the question which was coming his way.

“A lot of people think I was blindsided. That is absolutely false. Allie LaForce told me she was going to ask me the question and if it was OK. Once I started talking about it on-air, actually my emotions kind of took over and that was just my emotions coming straight from the heart.”

So once again, I come back to my original point. 

There is no way one acceptable way to grieve.

But now I'm left to question whether this was truly an outpouring of emotions at hearing such sad news, or if this was just a series of events that had no good way of being handled.

Lessons learned. I hope.

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