If seeing is believing, then videos are undeniable facts that play on an infinite loop.
Ray Rice understands that better than anyone. And now, so does Draymond Green.
Eight years after TMZ released the video of Rice, at the time the Baltimore Ravens’ star running back, punching his then-fiancée — which changed the future of the website, and ended Rice’s career — the Warriors star forward is in a similar situation.
When the news broke that Golden State’s emotional leader and most important player not named Steph Curry got into it with teammate Jordan Poole, and punched him, for many it was some drama that would eventually fade away.
But then, TMZ released the video for the world to see. Watching someone get laid out by a teammate stays with people longer than just seeing a tweet about it.
Michael Jordan punched Steve Kerr at practice. Fighting was a bonding exercise for the ‘90s Knicks and ‘80s Bad Boys. Kobe and Shaq got into it, and so on, and so on. Bobby Portis landed a haymaker on Nikola Mirotic in 2017 so good that it sent him to the hospital. Mirotic hasn’t been back in the NBA since that season, although general managers have voted him the best international player not in the league for the last two years.
The TMZ “phenomenon” goes beyond the footage we saw of Rice and Green that changed the way that many will view them forever. This is the site that broke the news about Kobe Bryant’s death. And last year, when New Orleans Pelicans big man Jaxson Hayes was involved in a situation in which the police tased him while he was held to the ground, it was TMZ that released the footage.
In 2019, TMZ was there to break a story about how DeMarcus Cousins was involved in a domestic incident. He was upset that the mother of his son wouldn’t allow him to attend his wedding.
“I’m gonna ask you this one more time before I take it to another level,” Cousins is heard saying on the recorded phone conversation ... “Can I have my son here, please?”
When the woman said no, Cousins replied, “I’m gonna make sure I put a bullet in your fucking head.”
“It’s an unfortunate situation. I had a special moment in my life, I wanted all my family to be there. A little piece of happiness while I’m going through whatever I’m going through,” he said on a February 2020 episode of the All The Smoke Podcast. “Things didn’t work out the way I wanted it to for my day, I was upset. So I said some things I shouldn’t have said, but that person knew what it was coming from. I mean I’ve seen a lot of things, heard a lot of stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I’m 100 percent against domestic violence. Like 100 percent. I watched my mother go through that as a child. So when it comes to that, I’m the first advocate for that. But with that being said, I said the wrong thing. Heat of the moment. We’ve all done it … When it comes to your kids, it’s a whole ‘nother situation. I’m pretty sure everybody with kids can speak on that. But it was still wrong.”
And earlier this year when Rajon Rondo told the mother of his children, in front of them, “You’re dead” — before he left and came back with a gun, demanding to see his kids — TMZ had the story.
One day, there might be some documentary on how TMZ does it. And while we can discuss the manner in which they break news, the ways they go about getting information, and the way it’s delivered, it’s a conversation we can have ad nauseam.
When damning news leaks, it’s often the reason why people don’t get away with things.
For instance, the Charlotte Hornets still don’t know what to do with Miles Bridges as the team has allowed the restricted free agent’s $7.9 million qualifying offer to expire. The Hornets star is in limbo after pleading not guilty to a felony count of injuring a child’s parent, and two felony counts of child abuse under circumstances or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury or death.
TMZ broke one of the biggest stories of the year that’s gotten swept under the rug in the NBA. Everything serves a purpose, and for that site, it’s to alert us about situations in the NBA — and sports — that might have gone unreported with them around.
They’re a necessary evil that we’ve been forced to depend on. Because in sports, bad behavior is too often overlooked and tolerated for the sake of the talented ones.