Giovani Bernard has a defender after his testy media interaction: Kevin Durant.
Durant, the Nets star who has had his own issues with the media over the years, sided with the backup Buccaneers running back after seeing video of Bernard’s exchange with the media in the locker room. Bernard fumbled on what appeared to be a fake punt early in the third quarter of the Buccaneers’ eventual 34-23 loss to the Bengals on Sunday, and was pressed about the moment.
“Giovani handled this like a true pro,” Durant tweeted.
Responding to a follower who said that the reporters peppering Bernard were full of themselves, Durant added, “Entitlement in this world has gone to another level. Media believes they are responsible for the popularity of the game.”
The Bucs were leading 17-3 at the time of the fumble, an easy play to point to after the game as to when the momentum swung.
The error must have felt doubly costly to Bernard, who spent his first eight NFL seasons on the Bengals before joining the Bucs last year.
Bernard, 31, was in no mood to expound on his mistake with reporters in the locker room after the loss. Jenna Laine, who covers the team for ESPN, shared a video in which Bernard at first complained that this was the first time reporters wanted to talk to him all season, then asked incredulously if he could go see his family outside.
Another reporter, in response to his complaint, said: “What have you done for us to talk to you about all year?”
Eventually Bernard relented, and took accountability for the mistake, albeit in a form that would give reporters scant copy in the form of quotes.
“A miscommunication is all it was, on my part,” Bernard said, in response to a question about what happened on the play. “I take complete fault for that.”
Asked if it was a fake, Bernard pled ignorance. “I don’t know. It was my fault. That’s it.”
No question would elicit elaboration.
“It’s my fault. It’s on me,” Bernard said, cutting off each reporter’s response. “That’s something I did wrong. And that’s all. It was all on me. Yep, number 25 out there, that was me. I was the one that did it. It was just me. I messed up.”
Asked where sports would be without media coverage, Durant answered, “We can survive without spoiled, entitled clickbait media…there are some good people who simply love to cover the sport.”