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Why Do Canadians Hate Gary Bettman?

September 23rd, 2010 | by torontosportsmedia

The Fan 590 sent out multiple emails promoting Gary Bettman’s appearance on the morning show with Andrew Krystal. Their were multiple tweets about the interview as well. One would assume, given the promotion that this was a big deal.

The Fan 590 has promoted Andrew Krsytal like no other on air personality in their stable. They’ve billed him as “more alarming than your alarm clock”. He will be apparently throwing out the first pitch Friday evening at the Blue Jays game. Bob Mccown was on his show, and word is that is to be a regular occurrence. I’ve been listening to the Fan for a while and I don’t remember him making a regular (or irregular for that matter) appearance on any other show. Take a look at their website, I don’t recall the Mike Hogan wrapper, do you?

This clearly was a big deal right????

So when 8:20 rolled around, I decided to tune in. To be honest I didn’t know what to expect. I told someone I was prepared to be underwhelmed; not because of Krystal himself, but rather because I thought there was too much hype. Perhaps it was more that everyone who emailed me in advance told me how awesome it was going to be to have Bettman put in his place by a real fan.

The interview was fine. I’ve heard a few on air personalities say that you don’t invite someone into your home and then rant and rave and mistreat them. Krystal was very respectful to Bettman. I was surprised at how short the interview was, that there was no follow up questions to any of the questions Krystal asked Bettman. Krystal asked a question, Bettman answered and they moved on to the next question. It didn’t come across as a big event.

There was no ranting. There was no yelling. There weren’t any real nasty or difficult questions. Michael Landsberg asked both Damien Cox and Bruce Dowbiggin more interesting questions on Off the Record in my opinion. Not a criticism, just an opinion. One journalist described the interview to me via email this evening as being Oprahesque. Krystal and Bettman had a nice chat. Personally, I didn’t learn anything from the interview, save for what Bettman had most recently read and his most recent movie selection. I thought it was rather vanilla, the relevant hockey questions didn’t make Bettman defensive, in fact they were all predictable and delivered in a respectful manner. I wasn’t bothered by it nor was I moved by it.

In my opinion it was, just another interview. Not bad, not fantastic, it just was.

Krystal’s blog post this evening, and I hope he wrote it in his bathrobe, is quite interesting. I love the tribute to Mccown. I’m not sure anyone would disagree with much of what Andrew wrote about Mccown, but for those who didn’t read it, here’s a gem:

“Bob McCown is the most successful talk host in the country – and with the biggest following”

Love it. Fantastic stuff.

It’s the right turn after the tribute that caught me by surprise. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know Krystal’s a bright guy. You don’t have to just count the many killer scrabble words in his writing. He’s obviously well read and very smart. So, I’m wondering if he like Mccown may say somethings to garner a response. First he takes a crack at Canadians/hockey fans :

“Most of you hate Gary because he’s from New York, he’s an intellectual, he doesn’t wear plaid, he doesn’t kiss Canadian ass, and he’s a business intellectual. I happen to like intellectuals more than “hockey pucks”: dummies and mouth-breathers.”

Now I say Canadians/hockey fans because Krystal says “most of you hate Gary”. I think we can all agree that there aren’t many non hockey fans in this country who hate Bettman, in fact the only ones who live here that hate Bettman would be hockey fans. So, Canadian hockey fans would prefer a plaid wearing, Canadian Ass kissing, non-business intellectual running the game of hockey. Personally I don’t care where the commissioner is from. Any disdain I ever had for Bettman is for the way he presents himself. He comes across like Burn’s sidekick on the Simpsons. I think Bettman is brilliant and he has a job to do and he has done it. But hey we lawyers tend to stick together I guess :)

The next bit from Krystal is intriguing. It’s interesting enough that I debated whether or not I should I even write this story. Not because of the subject matter, but rather the reason behind it being written in the first place:

“And, perhaps, let’s be honest, some of these Canadians just don’t like Gary Bettman because they are anti-Semitic (“What is this Jewish man in New York doing having power over our game anyway”?). ”

hmmmmmmm. Talk about the proverbial white elephant.

What an interesting, yet odd thing to put in this story.

I’ve heard lots of people talk about Bettman. I’ve heard tons of we hate Bettman rants. The one I’ve never heard is the Jewish one. American??? Yes, I’ve heard that one too many times. Jewish??? No, I have to admit, that one I’ve never heard. That doesn’t mean it’s not been said or isn’t true.

Having had anti-Semetic remakrs made to me personally, and over heard them on multiple occasions I am not so naive as to think that somewhere out there doesn’t exist someone who would put two and two together and make a remark about Bettman. However to suggest it here almost implied that there is more than just one idiot doesn’t it?????

Having spent time around sports teams, I can admit I have heard off colour remarks from too many on or “around the game”. I’m not proud to admit that I know of a MSMer in this market who once referred to the NHL as standing for the “no heebs league”. So, I am well aware of the world we live in. This comment, to me anyways came out of left field.

Now, it certainly makes the blog a hell of a lot more interesting, at least to me. But what an odd thing to put in here. The Jewish community isn’t going to be up in arms- there is no reason to be. What are the Bettman haters going to say, we don’t hate him for being Jewish (exactly what Krystal proclaims they do anyways right?)…. So why make the comment???

Odd, don’t you think.

Krystal ends his blog in a funny way too:

“…and if you don’t like it, too bad. Push me and I might be even nicer to Gary next time.”

I didn’t see or hear to many comments from the public on the Bettman interview. I didn’t see any tweets about it at all (save from a few folks reiterating what Bettman said about an outdoor game here and Quebec/Winnipeg potentially getting a franchise). Were there a bunch of people pissed about the way Krystal conducted the interview? I am not complaining, but again, I didn’t think it was a hard hitting interview, there were no uh huh moments- but nothing to get angry about…. Admittedly, I turned off the radio after it so I don’t know, where callers calling in angry that Andrew wasn’t “meaner” to the commish?

I personally haven’t found Krystal to be the least bit offensive or alarming to callers since re-taking to the air in Toronto. He hasn’t been rude, crass or even disrespectful. Maybe I am missing it, but I certainly haven’t seen a caller “push him” at all. Whether you like him or not, in my opinion he has been exactly as advertised, perhaps a little tamer – that’s all.

Interesting stuff for sure. Will be interesting to read his next blog.

Krystal’s blog is here

TSM

@yyzsportsmedia

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25 Comments

  1. Greg says:

    The thing I actually liked about Krystal’s interview of Betman is that Krystal was not trying to be an ass for the sake of being an ass. The same rang true for his discussion with Blair this morning, then the Buffalo Bills QB, and then that Dentist who invented that mouth guard thing (though I only heard part of it).

    All I am trying to say is that when he is being a normal guy, doing normal interviews and not screaming at the top of his lungs he is certainly very listenable.

  2. TSM, you are in the distinct minority of sports fans who can even listen to Krystal, never mind get to the point of finding his show entertaining and informative.

    My girls had dentist appointments this morning, and my
    dentist is a huge sports fan, so I asked him, on your way to work do you listen to Krystal on the FAN? He chuckled, said to me, that guy is unlistenable. I can’t even take him for a minute. He did say that the FAN morning show over the summer was a waste of time with Lumby, and before that with the other duo, so there has been a void in providing us with even a decent morning sports show in this market for a long time.

    I would love for you to put out a poll on Krystal, to see quantifiably where we all stand on him. Judging from the posts, I would say that at least 75% of the posters here have completely written him off by now, which is astonishing.

  3. Greg, it is very possible that due to the incredible backlash against Krystal and the way he portrayed himself and conducted his show that Kollins basically told him to STFU, tone it down, stop interrupting, and just stop acting like a pompous jerk.

    The problem was that this should have been done after his first show, not this late into his tenure. I was so turned off the first week trying to listen to him on repeated occasions that I just stopped tuning him in, even for a minute. My first impressions of him have been formed.

    Even if he has changed his act, I can’t get past his voice, which I find abrasive and completely unpleasant to listen to. John Shannon is another voice I just can’t take. Given the medium of radio, somebody’s voice and how it projects is crucial in gaining an audience.

  4. Sam says:

    Sports radio is like acting for the most part. If Krystal starts playing a more amicable part, I will listen again. The past is the past.

  5. Jerry says:

    I’m relieved to read these opinions on Krystal. After all the glowing ads about him I thought I was missing something.
    I use to be a loyal listening (I work from home) and now I switch stations when he comes on.
    Krystal makes me miss Lumby!

  6. Jerry says:

    I think with the changes at TheFan590 how long that Kollins will be there.!

  7. senned7 says:

    I just want to laugh in the morning….someone please put a smile on face, tell me the score’s, let me know if anything important happened in sports…but please help start my day with a smile on my face….as far Krystal goes, it all feels a little too contrived, we have one Bob McCowan already, we don’t need a mini Bob…(side note: it’s terrible when you feel like more about sports than the host does).

    Frankly I’m appalled that he would even bring up the fact that he is Jewish, it’s been over 10 years that he’s been commissioner and not once, ever in that time has any one of my friends brought that up, i’m truly stunned, we have a body of work that we can judge him by, and the best he can come up with is that people don’t like him because he’s Jewish?…Is this guy for real?

  8. gunner4413 says:

    Wow i have been following all the comments over the last couple of weeks and i wounder if it is just us Sports Media readers who are totally disapointed with the Job that Kollins has done with The Fan?I wounder if Doug Farraway has any input in the dicisions that are being made?Will we have to put up with him as the replacement for Eric Smith when he is out of town with the Raps?Lets hope not!!!
    The morning show is a joke!!I like Smith but why not team him up with Hogie?Then when he is out of town we have someone we can tolerate and also give us loyal listener something back for all the screw-ups he has made.

  9. Pingback: Don’t Blame Bettman: Scoring Down In NHL, Every Other Major Hockey League - SB Nation

  10. Andrew says:

    Farrawy is the sports director, I’m guessing he has a very limited voice in the on air talent.

    I had no clue that Bettman was Jewish and couldn’t care less. It was a douche move to even suggest that why he’s not liked, but douche seems to be right in Krystal’s wheelhouse.

  11. oldsalty says:

    When Krystal brought up religion, he either sincerely believed what he said or he didn’t. Whichever it was, Rogers should be concerned.

  12. Steve from Waterloo says:

    Off subject, but need to complain somewhere…After all these months of paying for LeafsTV for replays of games played years ago, and last year, by the 29th place team, LeafsTV is too cheap to televise the game last night in HD. Come on….

  13. Daniel says:

    I have to agree with Sam.

    It is like acting, great point. Most sports radio hosts have these exaggerated personas meant to be entertaining. Guys like McCown, Krystal, Wilner and Rumack just have used more antagonistic ones that generate more extreme reactions. So I’m willing to be patient to see if a guy like Krystal might work out the kinks, because I think he’s entertaining. We’ll see. (Not that I blame anyone for disliking his show)

  14. Daniel says:

    I will say this: I prefer listening to Krystal acting like an arrogant ass than listening to Bill Hayes, Roger Lajoie or Rob Faulds (among many others) who are inoffensive and may know sports but are so unbelievably dry and boring to listen to.

  15. Steve says:

    If anyone thinks Krystal is not offensive, I suggest he/she find his interview with Mary Ormsby from two weeks back, where she hung up the phone on him for his sexist remarks. I was actually surprised that no-one has made any comment about it anywhere.

    My problem with Krystal, just like many of the comments here, is that he tries to be offensive and abrasive too often and doesn’t let others speak. Sometimes that can be fine, mind you. However, I have the impression that he doesn’t even believe half of the garbage that comes out of his mouth. Rather, I often think that he is trying to cause a stir, to make a noise for the sake of making a noise. One of the reasons I like McCowan is that he believes the things that he says and he is consistent. Krystal is listenable at times but the good parts cannot outweigh the horrible bad parts.

    Also, I think he has been given far too much credit for being an intellectual. He uses the same line about James Joyce and Catholicism ad nauseam. Just because one drops names doesn’t make someone bright.

    Two years ago I became tired of listening to the CBC in the morning. This morning Krystal made me switch back.

  16. Sebastian says:

    I’d like to know what’s going through Keith Pelley’s mind over Krystal’s crack about people not liking Bettman ‘cos he’s Jewish.

  17. Mike S says:

    The Bettman interview was pretty much a waste of time…………….he is an expert in spin control which means he is almost impossible to pin down on any subject…………many of the best interviewers in the country have been unable to get Bettman to say anything interesting so I didn’t expect a medicore interviewer like Krystal to do it, especially given his lack of sports knowledge

    Krystal loves theories that have no basis in fact but are controversial………….for that reason I am not surprised to hear that he is playing the “people hate Bettman because he is Jewish” card

  18. Mike S, I totally agree. The Jewish thing was beyond ridiculous. A leopard does not change its stripes, and him saying that just to get a rise out of callers is but one more example of why I just can’t being myself to tune into him, not even for a second, even with TSM’s endorsement of him.

    There is one important point I do want to make about what Kollins said when he hired Krystal. He found the FAN playing things too much on the safe side, and he actually encouraged his broadcasters, and specifically Krystal, to be controversial and also that he was O.K. if the FAN was being sued more often for what they say on the air, as he saw a correlation between this and ratings.

    The irony is that Krystal played this card immediately and it was soundly rejected by the FAN’s listeners, and now Kollins is in big time damage control. Kollins has shown himself to be reactive in nature, and whatever plans he had for the FAN have been either soundly crticized or blown up. Obviously with the Jewish thing, Krystal just could not help himself, and I don’t need to listen to hsi crazy conspiracy theories on everything. I can’t wait for the Fall book to come in, as even though the morning show’s ratings obviosuly were nothing great, with the summer a write-off, and prior to that Gord and Don also doing nothing great, Kollins likely would have great numbers within the first week and a huge drop-off once the traditional FAN listeners actually got a sense of what they were getting force-fed.

  19. cam says:

    I must agree with your opinion regarding Landsberg, I thought they were good, strong interesting interviews. It has been a while since I have watched him and will check out his stuff more often.

    As for the Krystal blog, I found the blog to be a juvenile taunt to garner attention mixed with a sycophantic ode to McCowan. It was just an uninteresting piece with outrageous statements in a self-serving means to contrive controversy. The only interesting thing is how attacking the integrity and intelligence of the hockey fan will play out with an audience that is predominantly fans of hockey.

    However, it is not a surprising move given Krystal thought it just fine to tell Charles Adler that Adler would vote for Hitler if he ran for the conservatives. Interesting approach to generate controversy given Mr. Adler’s Grandparents were victims of Auschwitz.

    Contrary to the need to write this post, the more I learn, read and hear either about him or from him, the more likely I am to just ignore Krystal in the hope he will just fade away.

  20. Steve, the reason why nobody commented on the sexist remarks by Krystal with regards to Ormsby and her hanging up on him was quite simply, because so many of us had already written Krystal off and nobody was listening to it.

    This is for Krystal the absolute worst news possible, since not only is nobody listening, but we should expect to see numerous proposed guests declining to talk to this pompous jerk.

  21. FMT says:

    Cam, I wouldn’t be too sympathetic to Adler. Last year Adler compared the act of being critical of the oil sands and the work being done there as dirty oil to Nazis and people at the time calling the Jewish people dirty.

    I couldn’t believe my ears (and then my eyes when Adler thought it was such a smart point that it needed to be made into a column) comparing the most horrific time in the last century to wanting a nation to focus more environmentally by not damaging the earth.

    So after that, I think Krystal was a psychic truth sayer, if Adler was willing to cheapen what happened to his grandparents and other Jews at the hands of Hitler to compare it to the “hardships” people who work and support the oil industry. It shows that Adler would sell anything out for his political party stances.

    As for Bettman, I had no idea he was Jewish, and could care less. The sad thing is that I do think Bettman gets a bad rap here when he really did help keep a lot of teams here when the dollar was down and doesn’t get credit for that. But Krystal bringing up the Jewish things lose all argument and points he could have made before

  22. Cam says:

    FMT – good point on Mr. Adler – I am not a fan of his either … interestingly when I did some research (lazy man’s through Google) to see if there was some sort of pattern on Krystal and anti-Semitism as a topic this was first in the list … I was turned off by Adler almost as quickly as by Krystal when I tried listening to talk radio a few years ago.. too much rhetoric and not enough thought

    They say ignorance is bliss so given I will not tune into either I will be blissfully ignorant of these two towers of intellect.

  23. Mitchell says:

    Despite his pulling off the Bettman interview with little to no negative response, Krystall remains in my opinion another staffing gaff in the morning radio slot. Offensive, rude, limited knowledge of sports and just plain not funny or prepared, he makes many of us long for a more peaceful time when two incompetents such as Landry and Stellick were at the helm. At least they could carry an intelligent conversation with a sports celebrity and permit him/her to speak as opposed to going for the “funny” at every second. The fact they keep promoting Krystal as some sort of saviour is completely beyond me. I hear more sports and scores on 680 news than I do on the so called sports channel, 590. Explain that one.

  24. Jason andrews says:

    stupid dirty jew, get the f*ck back in the oven

  25. Fart says:

    He’s probably a zionist pig

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