Everyone has an opinion about Kevin Durant leaving. Some people think he should do what makes him happy. Other people say they're never watching an NBA game again. How about the two lead columnists for the state's largest newspaper?
Let's check out their first reaction to the news:
Instead of talking about what this means for the future, or how sad they were to see him leave or how they felt betrayed, Jenni Carlson and Berry Tramel's first reaction was instead to lecture the public on how to react to yesterday's news. This is the most predictable and most boring possible reaction to huge sports news you could possibly have.
Being a sports fan is a completely irrational thing. It is of course ludicrous to become emotionally invested in people playing a game. We love sports for a variety of reasons -- they're fun, they're an escape, they're a way for groups of people to bond -- but none of them are rational. So it is completely and utterly insane to ask that fans react to sports in the same way they'd react to a local doctor moving to Kansas City.
People are invested in the Thunder. We've been told over and over again how important fans are to the team. Constantly, fans are told: "We Are Thunder." I know, because it's on an official OKC Thunder t-shirt I paid for:
Fans believe that they are important. That they're meaningful. That we are an important part of the team's success. That we're in this together. That the community is a part of the success of the Oklahoma City Thunder. It's silly of course, incredibly so, but so what? It's fun and it gives us all something to be emotionally invested in and something to be proud of. So you'll excuse fans if their first reaction to our star player's leaving to play for the hated team that beat us in a miserable, soul-sucking fashion isn't to just smile and get on with our day.
No, fans shouldn't send death threats or throw shit at KD's restaurant or track down his family on Twitter to call them cunts. Obviously. This goes without saying. Really, I mean it: this goes without saying. A handful of people behaved like idiots and everyone thinks it's ridiculous and called them out for doing it. We don't need Boomer Tramel and Jenni Carlson policing fan behavior.
Less than a month ago, Berry Tramel wrote an article that concluded by saying that if KD were to leave, he'd have been proven to be a con man all along.
The Thunder is in large part a Kevin Durant creation. He helped create the culture. He is most responsible for the success. Durant always has said he cares about legacy. Now he's going to walk away from trying to bring a title to the place he himself molded?
“It's home,” Durant said of OKC. “That's how it's been for eight years. The time has flown by. The time flies when you're having fun. As time has gone past so quickly, I've learned so much about myself, about being here as a basketball player and as a man. I've been through a lot of different experiences just in this city, and it's something I'm always going to remember.”
Could Durant leave? Sure. But it doesn't sound like it, unless he's a con man. And he's never shown that before.
Well, KD did leave, and Tramel's reaction is to... warn the fans about the way they react?
Here's all I want from people like Berry Tramel and Jenni Carlson: have a human fucking reaction for once. Act like you care about... anything. The reaction to KD leaving from everyone I know differs, but at least I can tell that they give a shit. The fanbase had their heart ripped out, and your first reaction is to sit high and scold them about how not to behave? Sports are fun and sports suck and sports will make you feel like an idiot for caring so much about something so stupid. Shouldn't that sentiment be reflected somewhere in the pages of the biggest paper in the state, instead of stodgy people trying to look rational in a world that is inherently irrational? The answer is "Yes," but kind of like KD in Thunder uniform, don't expect it to see it anytime soon.