The media is often painted as the enemy among sporting circles. Sometimes fairly, often not.

That maxim is true throughout the world of sport but there are stark contrasts to the nature of the relationship in different corners of the globe.

After a week in which Steven Adams' season ended and Sonny Bill Williams shifted north to the Blues, that was made especially clear to this particular member of the press pack.

As a basketball writer who also spends time on the Chiefs beat, it was difficult to ignore the disparate nature of those tasks.


To put it bluntly, it was easier to cover an athlete 12,000km away than engage a man I watched train on numerous occasions.

That's no criticism of Williams. Whom he talks to is entirely his right, but it's worth noting the distinct practices allowing for such variation.

In the United States, every athlete is available to media after every game. No matter the magnitude of the occasion, no matter the quality of the performance, sportsmen must recount what happened on the field.

And that's less a matter of duty to journalists as it is to fans. While social media has broken down the barrier between athletes and the public, those inside the lines have no prerogative to bridge the gap and, after a bad night, can turn off the phone and leave supporters searching for answers.

Unless they are kept accountable by hungry hacks filling empty column inches. They'll be waiting at athletes' lockers for an explanation why the ball was dropped or the kick shanked.

It may sound unpleasant but that's what comes with such an extravagant salary: being asked to clarify what went right and what went wrong.

And if they shirk those responsibilities? It does not end well. New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey experienced that last week, responding to an extended slump by skipping media duties and refusing to offer insight about the latest poor performance.

Some Mets fans couldn't care less for Harvey's actions in the locker room - it's what happens with ball in hand that counts. And while that's true, there is a faction who thinks Harvey must take his medicine: his teammates.

In his absence, they face the music and, understandably, they'd rather avoid that onerous task.

"We should all be accountable for what we do," said Mets captain David Wright. "All of us like coming in here and talking when we have good games and a few of us, myself included, enjoy coming in here and talking when we don't play well. Accountability is big and I think [Harvey] just had a bit of a lapse in judgement."

Such statements are why sportsmen rarely make the same mistake twice. Instead, someone like Adams repeatedly provides his opinion, which aids immeasurably those following their movements half a world away.

Unlike Williams, to whom several requests were placed and several requests were denied. The new Blues recruit - whose ability on the field I greatly admire - was less a fan of this publication, having apparently once been wronged over a family-related issue.

Whether or not his grievance was justified, it was nothing personal, and I could empathise with Williams' view. The player holds the power in New Zealand, particularly in rugby, and they can pick and choose their friends.

It's a similar story in European football, where journalists are often surprised when interview requests are granted, and where the roll of reporters excommunicated by Sir Alex Ferguson during his Manchester United reign stretched longer than his honours list.

Which system is right? It depends on whom you ask. But, on this side of the fence, I'm certainly envious of those allowed to yarn with Adams on a daily basis.