NBA star Josh Giddey is receiving favorable news coverage from mainstream media despite an existing criminal investigation into allegations he had a sexual relationship with an underage girl.
That type of apparent sympathetic media treatment for Giddey, who is white, stands in stark contrast to the news coverage of Black NBA players — and other pro athletes of color — who have been accused of far less than being a pedophile.
In case you missed it, Giddey, who stars for the Oklahoma City Thunder, has been under criminal investigation for more than a month for possibly having a sexual relationship with a girl while she was in high school.
Aside from the Newport Beach Police Department in California investigating, the NBA also claims it has launched its own separate investigation.
Details are scarce, but photos posted to social media around Thanksgiving claimed to show Giddey and the underaged girl in provocative poses accompanied by accusations they were more than just friends. The Los Angeles Times reported that the girl in question is a current high school student in Orange County whose family is not cooperating with law enforcement.
But aside from Giddey on Nov. 29 telling reporters that “there’s no further comment right now” – and the media readily accepting and respecting that answer without any pushback – the 21-year-old Australian has largely avoided the same kind of media scrutiny placed upon players like Ja Morant and Kyrie Irving, for example, who were each suspended following their respective scandals, none of which involved alleged sex crimes.
Mainstream media isn’t keeping that same energy
In fact, there hasn’t been a single news article on the investigation into Giddey in weeks.
The most recent official news article about the investigation appears to have been published three weeks ago in the Los Angeles Times and focused on explaining why NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is allowing Giddey to play while the police investigate — not why he shouldn’t be playing, as has been the precedent when covering Black athletes facing criminal probes.
Morant, who recently returned from a whopping 25-game suspension for brandishing legal guns on social media, continues to be associated with guns even though a Colorado police department declared he never broke a law for having a gun in a local strip club last year.
Irving was suspended for eight games by the Brooklyn Nets last season after facing accusations of antisemitism for posting to social media the link to a documentary decried as anti-Jewish. In that case, Nike severed a lucrative deal it had in place with the NBA star.
But when it comes to Giddey and the very serious nature of his alleged crimes, neither the NBA nor the Thunder have taken actions to suspend the point guard from playing until the duel investigations are complete. Likewise, Giddey’s endorsement deal with Nike remains intact.
As such, after a brief spate of news coverage, it would appear that mainstream media has all but forgotten – or is ignoring – the allegations against Giddey despite recent history showing the opposite was true in the cases of Irving and Morant who, again, were suspected of doing much less than having a sexual relationship with a minor.
Apparent mainstream media coverage bias
Take, for instance, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s game Tuesday night against the Boston Celtics.
A quick Google search for Giddey’s name turns up only positive news coverage from mainstream media, including praise for scoring a season-high in points against the league-best Celtics. Aside from gossip sites that post clickbait, not even buried within those news stories is there any single mention of the criminal allegations.
Irving, on the other hand, has not enjoyed such a privilege afforded by the media, which on Tuesday night made sure headlines about the Dallas Mavericks star were about a rabbi who held a sign about being “a Jew” during a recent game – even though it’s been more than a year since that scandal unfolded.
Morant’s association with guns has also been unescapable since his return from his suspension last month. During a game last week, he celebrated on the court while doing the “Rock Ya Hips” dance. But because the dance involved posturing similar to holding guns, headlines focused on that even though he had just been named Western Conference Player of the Week and boasted a high scoring average in the brief time since his return.
Giddey, in contrast, was celebrated on Tuesday by the Oklahoman news website with the following headline: “How Josh Giddey is turning a corner in OKC Thunder lineup.”
In that news article, there is not one single mention of the sex crime for which Giddey is being investigated.
Sports Illustrated also published a recent article highlighting Giddey’s “swagger”.
Meanwhile, MLB star Wander Franco was arrested Tuesday in the Dominican Republic for being suspected of having a sexual relationship with an underage girl.
Chances are more than likely that Franco, who is brown, will be featured in more news stories that focus on the criminal allegations and not his achievements in sports – unlike what’s happening with Giddey.
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