Brooklyn Nets Sort of Apologize for Bad Season

Thom Weidlich 04.18.24


We tend not to think of problems that crop up in the everyday course of an organization’s business as a crisis in the strict meaning. Think of a company having a bad quarter: not good, but not really a crisis in the crisis communications sense. Yet, we have an interesting example of someone addressing a similar performance issue in sports.

On the night of Wed., April 10, the Brooklyn Nets, then with a dismal 31–48 record, was about to play its final home game for the season, against the Toronto Raptors, at Barclays Center. Before the start of play, Nets shooting guard and small forward Mikal Bridges addressed the crowd from halfcourt.

“On behalf of my teammates and the Nets organization, we appreciate you guys coming out this year. I know it’s been a tough year, but we appreciate you guys hanging on with us,” he said, according to a report by Erik Slater in ClutchPoints. “We’ll be back next year.”

Ghastly Performance

What Bridges (pictured) did was unusual. Sure, a player or manager might address the team’s ghastly performance in the locker room or at a postgame presser. But from halfcourt before the game? And about the whole season?

Then there’s the substance. As we say, it would be like a company asking forgiveness for a down quarter. In sports, a disappointing game or even season isn’t necessarily something you draft talking points for. Maybe six bad quarters or seasons (that could be seen as a slowly unfolding crisis).

Both ClutchPoints and the New York Daily News called what Bridges said an apology (the News called it “a sincere apology”). It wasn’t exactly an apology, but it was close.

Disappointing Play

We’re pretty certain Bridges further ingratiated the team with fans — gave the Nets some goodwill, some credit in the “Credibility Bank.” But that’s what motivated Bridges: Despite the squad’s disappointing play this year, and not making it into the postseason, the fans have stuck by it. Bridges spoke before a sold-out crowd.

After the game, he explained why he did what he did. “You know, just the season ending like this while there’s a lot of basketball going on left. I know it’s not fun for them, it’s definitely not fun for us,” he said, adding that the Nets have “been surprised [at fan support despite] how poor we’ve been playing all year. But it just shows the true fans and how much they really care.”

Sure, some fans won’t care about Bridges’ “apology.” As we say, they’ll see it as more of a performance issue: “How about playing better?” But it was a worthy attempt. And at least the Nets beat the Raptors that night 106–102.

Photo Credit: Brooklyn Nets

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