Darnell Mayberry, the lead beat writer for the Thunder, was gracious enough to take some time to answer a few questions about his experiences covering the team. It may be on the long side, but every answer is definitely worth reading.
Daily Thunder: With the Sooners and the Cowboys, people are really touchy about The Oklahoman remaining unbiased and objective. But with the Thunder, this is the state’s team. Do you find it harder to try and stay objective or is it easy to get caught up being a fan?
Darnell Mayberry: I’m not a fan. That’s the first thing I think it’s important to realize. I am a fan of the NBA, sure. It’s my favorite league. But I don’t root for the Thunder specifically or have a team bumper sticker on my car or foam fingers in my house or Kevin Durant autographed pictures hanging on my wall. And so I haven’t found my job as the Thunder beat writer any more or less difficult than any other beat in terms of remaining objective. It’s a professional obligation in my eyes. An awesomely fun and enjoyable one, but one that I take seriously and work very hard at.
Having said that, it’s human nature to want to see people do well. Working closely with so many classy people in the Thunder organization, from players to coaches to front office execs, you want to see them do well. But I’m not happy or heartbroken after every win or loss. My approach to my job remains the same whether the Thunder has a 3-29 record through its first 32 games or goes 20-30 over its final 50. I don’t, however, know any sports journalist, myself included, that doesn’t want to cover a good team. It’s both a pleasure and a professional challenge to chronicle the biggest sporting events of the year. So I’m like every other professional sports journalist I know who wants to continually be in that position. But I don’t let my desire cloud my judgment or show up in my work. The one challenge about this being Oklahoma’s team, and the state’s first major-league franchise, is that there is a ton of excitement about the Thunder. And what I’ve found sort of ironic is while many sports journalists live in fear of being labeled a homer, I’m in a position where fans are upset when I’m too critical. Keep Reading…