Warriors refute Adrian Wojnarowski’s report on Stephen Curry

Early on Friday afternoon, Mercury News reporter Shayna Rubin broke the news that Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry won’t have his injured left foot re-evaluated until after the regular season concludes. The implication of the tweet is obvious: Curry will miss the remainder of the regular season (five games), which calls into question whether he’ll be ready for the playoffs.

The immediate, overwhelming reaction to Rubin’s tweet was a flood of Warriors fans asking if this was an April Fool’s joke. It was not, of course, because she covers the team for a living and making an April Fool’s joke about the team you cover would be incomprehensibly short-sighted. But a portion of the skepticism from fans probably has to do with the unfortunate reality of breaking NBA news in 2022: The vast majority of big-time scoops are delivered by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Stadium’s Shams Charania.

Woj and Charania dominate the scoops game, the result of scoops being their sole interest. Their sourcing methods have been called into question, because they and a few other national scoop-hunters have shown willingness to frame stories however their sources — usually agents or team executives — would like.

But Woj in particular has an enormous following of 5.2 million people on Twitter, so on the rare occasion when he’s beaten to the punch on a story, his inevitable follow-up tweet is often considered the final word on the subject. Fifteen minutes after Rubin’s tweet on Friday, Woj waded into the Curry saga, tagging in his colleague Kendra Andrews with a fairly different assessment of the situation: Curry might still return during the regular season, and he’ll be re-evaluated in a week, which is still narrowly before the regular season ends.

Wojnarowski’s report, like Rubin’s, cites multiple unnamed sources. So who’s right?

Rubin, not Woj. Within minutes of Woj’s tweet, the Warriors released a statement confirming there’ll be no Curry updates until April 11, which is after the regular season ends. There is no hedging in the Dubs’ statement, just as there was no hedging in Rubin’s, or other reporters who soon chimed in on the situation: Curry is out for the rest of the regular season, and there’s nothing indicating he’ll be re-evaluated in “a week,” which is April 8, not April 11.

Nevertheless, at 1:01 pm, Wojnarowski and Andrews co-bylined an article affirming the Warriors’ announcement that Curry will miss the rest of the regular season. They did not cite Rubin for breaking the story, nor has Wojnarowski attempted to explain his changing his intel within a 40-minute time span. The ESPN article also vaguely reiterates that Curry will be re-evaluated in “a week,” even though it does not line up with the Dubs’ April 11 date.

Ultimately, this is not a big deal; you could even call it “nitpicking,” and I would not protest your assessment. But here’s the thing: When Rubin, a local reporter, put out a now-proven-correct news story, she was met with disbelief and even hostility from folks who quickly sided with Wojnarowski, the national scoops-getter. So let this serve as a friendly reminder: The national sports scoopers are not infallible, and when they get it wrong (even a little mistake like this!) they should.

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