And the first nominee for the inaugural Headinass Awards is ...
Ric Bucher, a long-time NBA reporter who is so sick of his own job that he decided to tell Kevin Durant to get married.
In the future, if you're wondering, "Kevin Durant needs to get married," is when I decided to start an annual show that pinpoints the dumbest sports takes of the year.
I cribbed that line from Jed Bartlet, the president as played by Martin Sheen on Aaron Sorkin’s “West Wing” but I think it applies well because last Friday — after hearing Ric Bucher’s particularly inane opinion last week on FOX Sports’s “Speak For Your Pizza” — I reached the realization that we could really use a “Razzies” for stupid sports takes.
And with that in mind, I’m proud to announce the Headinass Awards, an annual competition to distill the absolute worst this industry has to offer. Nominations will be fielded here in the comments or you can email me: danny at dannyoneil dot com.
Our first nominee will be filed into the category of “Awful Metaphors”
“Kevin Durant needs to get married. Kevin Durant needs a relationship that teaches him what you have to respond to and what you just let go. That – for me – is what marriage taught me: What’s really important.”
— Ric Bucher
That sounds almost sweet, doesn’t it? The problem is that not only is Bucher advising a 34-year-old man to get married under the premise this will lead the man to stop responding to so much of the criticism he encounters online.
There are a couple of problems here: First, he’s complaining about someone else’s complaining. This is very minor, though, and someone inclined to point out hypocrisy might note it’s the exact activity that I — the author — am currently engaged in. Second, and more troubling: Bucher is doing so with a metaphor that doesn’t really hold up.
“I’m aware of all criticism,” Bucher continued, “but I have learned how to only respond and take seriously criticism from those I respect and from those who know me. And that — again — you get married and you have a significant other, and when they know you and they talk to you about issues that may exist, I listen to that. I’ve learned to listen to that. I’m able to differentiate that from all of the other noise you might get.”
I don’t think Bucher is being honest about his rationale here because while I have heard plenty of people say that marriage taught them to be more discerning of criticism, this is usually because they learned to pick their spots on what to fight about. They stopped contesting every single complaint or observation. They learned to let some stuff go. There’s a reason dudes like to say, “Happy wife, happy life,”as if it’s some deep philosophical truth, and yes, in my experience it’s always dudes who say that.
The problem is that if someone were to go on a nationally televised program and say that marriage taught him or her not to respond to every bit of criticism from their partner, well, that probably wouldn’t decrease the amount of criticism they faced once they got home.
Honestly, I respect Bucher’s tact here, and I say that as someone who had to learn that it’s important to respect your partner’s boundaries for what she considers sharable in a public context.
However, Bucher’s tact makes his metaphor less effective, and he was already on dicey ground because of the aforementioned fact that he was advising another man to get married so he’d stop responding to criticism, which brings us to the core reason why this take is so truly terrible.
The root of Bucher’s complaint has more to do with his job on television than it does with Durant. If Bucher is tired of talking about Durant, there are two ways to fix this:
Durant can stop complaining
Bucher can choose to stop addressing it
A normal person would choose Option 2 because that’s something he has control over. Except Bucher doesn’t have control of it because he works on shows where the subject matter is determined by what will attract and hold the most viewers. Conflict, tension, drama? These things all do that so what Bucher is really mad about has to do with the nature of the material that is most viable for that specific job, which means he’s just being a baby by whining about what his work entails. Or perhaps he just goes around telling 34-year-old men they should get married so they’ll learn what type of criticism is important and see how quickly people stop talking to him.
In my experience, the men who say this could generally benefit from listening to their partners more and not less, but I don’t tend to point this out because I’m an overly sensitive person who would be better served by being less reactive. In other words, I’m probably more like KD than Bucher when it comes to responding to criticism.