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Why the Oklahoman shouldn’t have to apologize

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Mike Sherman should not have to write this blog post.

He shouldn’t have to write an apology to the fans of the Oklahoma City Thunder who read the Oklahoman and saw the headline about Kevin Durant on Thursday because he (and they) didn’t do anything wrong.

Durant has been unreliable in the series against Memphis and the column Berry Tramel wrote laid that out plainly and succinctly.

Also, this is the best thing to come out of all of this:

The Oklahoman’s mistake, I guess, was assuming that we were all smart enough to presume that the headline was referencing the way Kevin Durant has played in the last five games and not the 537 that came before those. Only a fool would say he’s been unreliable for the entirety of his career.

So if you think the Oklahoman is run by fools then this was your “Rick Perry can’t even remember the three agencies he wants to get rid of” moment.

We are not a culture — especially a sports culture — bent on basking in context. Everything we read must be projected across the next decade and, irrationally, into the past.

“I know they’re saying this about the last week but I’m going to blanket them into the past with statements that they’re stupid people who don’t know anything about KD or sports. I exist outside of time!”

Also, I think some folks are still (still!) confused about what a newspaper or a blog or anything that critiques the work of others actually is.

Marcus Smart made light of that when he called me out for associating myself with OSU and yet being critical. What am I supposed to do? Call the team the ____________ State _______________? Am I not allowed to type “OSU”? That’s a rabbit hole for another time, though.

The Oklahoman does not exist to ensure that Kevin Durant plays basketball in the state of Oklahoma for the next 15 years. And conversely, if Kevin Durant leaves the state of Oklahoma to play basketball because he’s worried about a newspaper then he’s a clown anyway.

Apparently he’s the only one that fully recognizes this.

The funniest part about all of this to me — besides KD giving the headline a mark of approval at the same time the Oklahoman retracted it — is that if you subbed Westbrook’s likeness in for KD’s, everybody would give a collective shrug.

KD’s the sacred cow, though. You can’t come at KD because he’s KD.

That’s silliness.

As Andrew Gilman correctly pointed out, the Oklahoman has one very large thing working for it:

We can quibble about whether or not the phrase “Mr. Unreliable” implies an entire career’s worth of transgressions (it doesn’t) but if that’s your argument then you’ll never be convinced of anything other than THE OKLAHOMAN HATES MY TEAM AND JOEY CRAWFORD HAD MONEY ON GAME FIVE I GUARANTEE IT!

I thought Anthony Slater said very smartly that, yes, perhaps the headline was a touch heavy. But that’s it, a touch.

I mean, can you imagine the headlines for KD if he was a Knick and was doing what he was doing in NYC? It would be madness. We’re soft because we think Oklahomans exist to be a buoy for other Oklahomans.

That’s what drives me bonkers about Gundy at times. Kelly Hines, Jimmie Tramel, and others associated with OSU football media are nice people, and hardly heavy-handed when it comes to the negative stuff they have to cover about the program. And he reacts as if he’s Jonas Salk and they’re listing talking points on the benefits of polio.

I do love the KD has been the only adult in all of this, saying what a champ should say. “That’s on me. I didn’t get it done. They’re right.” Now if he drops 50 on TA tonight (love you, Tony) the circle is complete.

The other good thing has come out of all of this, by the way, is that the write the headline game tonight on Twitter is going to be so, so epic.

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