Team.Riley.

The NBA finals start Thursday night. Which means King James, Stephen Curry and hopefully Riley Curry. Much has been made of two year old Riley’s post game appearances with her MVP father. At the beginning of Time.com’s video of her second post game press conference appearance, a female voice can be heard saying “Oh, we’re doing this again,” somewhat disdainfully.   Please please do this again, as a matter of fact, it would be awesome if all press conferences came with a two year old, especially sports press conferences.

 

Consider, would you rather sit through the following:

Athlete’s contribution at post-game press conference:

  1. Open with a compliment to the opposing team, especially if you are on the winning team. Phrases to use: the other team really fought/played hard, put up a good fight, show lots of heart – insert at least one specific incident from game.
  2. Use if you like your coach. Mention said coach and his strategy. Be sure to refer to “Coach” like that is his proper name. Don’t like your coach? Skip directly to step three.
  3. Compliment your team for playing as, wait for it, a team. I know, CRAZY right? Phrases to use include: we really came together or some form of ‘this game really brought out the best in the whole team.’
    1. Act humble, don’t gloat.
    2. If you had an amazing record setting night, be sure to credit your team, or line mates, with the huge assist and state you could not have done it without them.

Or you could sit through a Riley Curry post game press conference, which includes all the steps above, plus a two year old occasionally telling the press they’re too loud, squirming, messing with papers up on the podium, squirming, wrapping herself in a curtain, squirming, singing, squirming. Basically doing what a two year old does best. Seriously, is there any doubt that Hillary Clinton wishes she could just tell the media horde following her to be quiet, and yawn at some of the questions she’s asked?

What is truly confusing is why Riley has raised so many negative reactions. It’s sports, or you know, games. So she disrupts the press conference a little bit, but was the conference before her disruption really going to accomplish something unexpected? Stephen Curry, who has been best described as half-baller, half-Harry Potter he’s so magic on the court, was not going to whip out a white board, and Big Tim-esquely map out the cure for cancer, or where the Clintons’ emails have really gone. He was going to talk about ten men running up and down a wood floor, shooting a ball through two net baskets, repeatedly, for 96 minutes.  Occasions of incredible breaking news or severe gravitas these are not.

After the year professional sports has had – think Ray Rice or Adrian Peterson for instance – it is nice to see a professional athlete dedicated to his family and child, with open tenderness, patience and appreciation. Professional sports needs Stephen Curry the MVP, but there is also a strong need for Stephen Curry, the amazing dad. The guy who knows, hey at the end of the day, this (cue adorable, Big Sean singing bundle writhing on his lap) is the best thing I’ve done lately.

Wednesday, Curry actually had to defend bringing his daughter to press conferences. Double standard much? Athletes should be upstanding, citizens worthy of being idolized but please don’t bore us with the details.

Riley herself has become, at the age of two, a lightning rod. Some, like ESPN’s Skip Bayless and the faceless female on Time’s video, think children don’t belong at post-game press conferences. Others, like the blogger at Crunk Feminist Collective, are calling out the open dislike of Riley’s presence for its misogynistic and racist overtones. Sadly, yes, Bayless and others willing to say how inappropriate the active Riley is are, for the most part, older white men or women in sports reporting.

Riley is gorgeous, she’s great tv, and probably an amazing kid. She is the 21st century ideal of some (yeah, totally include me in that group)– Strong Girl in the making with huge props to the parents Curry. See the One campaign trying to achieve this across the globe. But what she is best at being is being a two year old. Can we not give her a metatext? Not introduce her to how horrible the world is, but enjoy seeing a child whose most pressing concern is keeping the attention of her doting parent. Let’s not compare her to older children, to boys, or assign her a crusade ( at least wait until she’s six or seven, and at the age of reason before showing her to the windmills) and let’s not make her father, clearly an active, caring parent, defend being just that.

Oh, and to all those haters – the Curry’s are looking forward to the birth of their second child. Here’s hoping for another daughter.

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