Inaccurate AP story about NBA draft pick favors Greek PM

AP Antetokounmpo story

Yesterday, I wrote about Greek Golden Dawn leader Nikos Mihaloliakos’ statement comparing Milwaukee Bucks no. 15 draft pick Giannis Antetokounmpo to a chimpanzee.

Today, the Associated Press (AP) reported on this story from Athens, Greece as well in a piece with no author listed and with the headline “Greek federation condemns slur of NBA draft pick”. The AP correctly reports on today’s press release (in Greek) where they refer to the Mihaloliakos statements as “unacceptable and racist”.

However, the AP makes what -based on my research- is an inaccurate statement about Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras:

Prime Minister Samaras has frequently described Golden Dawn as “neo-Nazis.”

Samaras references to Golden Dawn as “neo-Nazi” do not appear to have been “frequent” as the AP claims. Specifically, I have located only four such references* in his official public speeches and statements that are published on his New Democracy party website and the PM government website in the year since he was sworn in. The earliest such reference I found was on May 30 of this year, meaning that he apparently waited for nearly a year following Golden Dawn’s entry into parliament with 7% of the vote and subsequent increase in popularity before publicly referring to them as “neo-Nazis”.

The AP also uses the below quote by Samaras from his Tuesday July 2 meeting with Antetokoumpo in a misleading fashion:

Samaras said he felt “great emotion” at his meeting this week with Antetokounmpo and his parents.

“I thank you for honoring our national colors,” he said. “I hope you drive them crazy with your slam dunks. … All of Greece is so excited for you.”

The above statement by the Greek PM was made before the Golden Dawn leader made the remarks later that night which he was widely condemned for. However, The AP article was published two days later with a July 4 time stamp of 3:04 PM EDT. Their headline and main topic refer to the Greek Basketball Federation’s condemnation of the Mihaloliakos remarks. Many -if not most- readers will be left with the impression that the Samaras statement that the AP quotes was in response to Mihaloliakos, something which is not the case. As of the time of writing of this post, there is no official statement in response to the Golden Dawn leader on either the New Democracy or the PM website.

*References (in Greek): May 30 press release, May 30 letter, June 9 speech (ND | PM), June 28 speech (ND | PM)

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