Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

April 1st, 2016 | by mike (in boston)
Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition
business of sports
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photo credit: TSN/CTV

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by mike in boston / @mikeinboston / hatemailaccount at gmail

 

Suggested soundtrack: Bob Dylan – Gotta Serve Somebody

 

Good morning sports media watchers. No preamble this week, except to say that we've adjusted our moderation so that if you use the word "robbers" in the comments we send your IP address to the police and tell them we are worried you might harm the Ted Rogers statue.

 

With that out of the way, let's get to work.

 

We've Got Mail

 

The NHL is being sued by a group of former players. As part of the work product of that case, several hundred emails were subpoenaed. A Minnesota judge recently unsealed those emails. TSN's Rick Westhead was given access to those emails and wrote on Monday about what they contain.The Globe&Mail has published the entire cache (including emails and phone numbers) if you want to read them. Many other outlets have now picked up the story and are doing their own investigative reporting, including AP and the NYT.

 

In brief, the emails include several statements by Daly, Bettman, and other NHL executives linking fighting to concussions, and concussions to brain injuries. In one particularly damning exchange, one NHL executive says:

 

"The nhl has never been in the business of trying to make the game safer at all levels and we have never tried to sell the fact that this is who we are… The question is: should we be in that business and if we were, what could we possibly achieve without throwing millions of dollars at education […] NFL invests hundreds of thousands of dollars each year around their pr campaign to deal with violence … They produce concussion websites, send former players around teaching young players how to play the game safer, they produce videos for young football players … I could go on and on … We do none of that and don’t view it as an important part of our mandate …"

 

This stands in contrast to Bettman's response to an NHL owner who wrote to express concern that the NFL's concussion lawsuits could eventually make their way to the NHL:

 

"I do not believe that we are in the same situation as football. And I do not believe the NFL lawsuits should put us at risk. Among other things, we have been the leaders in the area of concussions and have set the standard on diagnosis, treatment and rule changes at the professional level."

 

This story dominated the headlines all week, as different writers delved into the details of the emails and put narratives and timelines together to give them context. Here are some of the best articles that appeared:

 

  • Bruce Arthur – "You can see who Gary Bettman has relied on to guide this game, and you can see how often his own vision has been limited to theirs, all these years. The history of hockey is violent and long, and sometimes it can’t see anything beyond its own horizon."

 

  • Scott Stinson – "But the argument that player safety is of paramount concern will always ring hollow when those same players are allowed to settle disputes by trying to bash each other in the face."

 

  • Roy MacGregor – "Most significantly, the NHL understood these dangers in 2011, as one e-mail from deputy commissioner Bill Daly clearly links concussions suffered by enforcers to future depression and such “personal tragedies” as suffered by the three deceased."

 

  • Cathal Kelly – "There is no longer any point in maintaining Mr. Bettman’s public line – that we don’t know what we don’t know, no matter how many broken men come forward to tell the stories of their precipitous late-in-life decline. While there remains some doubt in parts of the research community (because very little can be “definitively” proved when it comes to the vagaries of the human mind), there isn’t any left in the real world."

 

  • James Mirtle – "While the attention of many fans since the release of the e-mails has focused on former senior vice-president Colin Campbell’s colourful references to various NHL players as king rats, wusses, punks and dickheads, the meat of the concussion lawsuit will more likely come down to whether the league willfully put players in harm’s way by not being proactive in preventing head injuries. What’s clear from these early documents is that some at the ownership level, as far back as five years ago, believed they were not doing enough."

 

If you only have time to read one, make it Arthur's.

 

The emails paint many pictures, but one of the clearest is that the men who run the league have a dim view of their role in making the game safer for the players. Colin Campbell refers to critics of the NHL’s handling of safety issues as ‘‘tree huggers’’ and ‘‘Greenpeace pukes’’. It will be hard to square this language with the thesis that the league was proactive in trying to make the game as safe as possible for players. The email record shows that, among the most senior members, safety concerns were regarded with contempt and disdain.

 

Bettman's Long Shadow

 

The papers all saw this as a major story with significant news value. So did CTV, who devoted lots of time and resources from their news department to TSN's investigation. Sportsnet, however, has published a total of 1 story involving original content on this subject as of Friday evening. In his reporting on the NHL's emails Chris Johnston writes about the interesting rule changes the league considered, the possibility of scrapping the 3rd point, and lots of other fun tidbits. In other words, he talked about everything but the major issue.

 

So while other news organizations focused on the heart and head of the matter, Sportsnet actively avoided talking about it. So did NHL.com

 

Let's play a quick round of Plausible/Not Plausible. You can play along at home.

 

1) Sportsnet didn't cover the concussion emails because they don't believe they are newsworthy. 

 

Not plausible. This is a story that goes well beyond sports. Sportsnet also covered the NFL concussion lawsuit in depth.

 

Next, consider that Damien Cox, Michael Grange, Elliotte Friedman, and Stephen Brunt all wrote stories for Sportsnet.ca this week on other topics. Cox wrote about Jimmy Vesey on Tuesday. Friedman had 30 thoughts, zero of which were about the NHL emails. Grange just last week had strong words about the NFL's concussion issues:

 

"Regardless of who inspired the strategy or if there was one, the league didn’t do a very good job trying to protect the health of its players, even as they were being forced out of the sport earlier than they wanted and against their will, and even as documentation began to pile up that long-term effects of those brain injuries could be deadly."

 

Yet, despite finding time for 3 Raptors stories, he failed to mention the emails. Stephen Brunt, someone who at one time was the sports conscience of the nation, wrote about Robert Osuna. If you want to know what Brunt thinks about Bettman these days you can read his 2014 piece titled: "Is Gary Bettman the best boss in pro sports?"

 

Verdict? This was a major story that went undiscussed by the major people at Sportsnet. In each case, the writers in question chose other topics over this one. This leads us to out next question.

 

2) Cox, Grange, Friedman, and Brunt all decided of their own volition to avoid writing about the major story of the week involving Canada's national sport.

 

Not plausible.

 

All of these people cover hockey (among other sports) and many of these same people have written extensively about concussions, the NHL, and general business of sports issues. This story should be in their wheelhouses. So, the fact that none of them wrote about it is striking.

 

The most plausible explanation for all of them writing about other topics is that they were told not to write about the emails. Next question:

 

3) Scott Moore decided on his own to forbid his employees from writing anything that could draw negative attention to the NHL.

 

Not plausible. Moore runs a sports media company that employs hundreds of people in a journalistic capacity. Presumably he values their skills as journalists. He's not going to start meddling in their affairs based on his own hunches and intuitions. He's not a journalist. The much more plausible explanation is that Gary asked Moore to issue the coverage ban.

 

When you put all of this together the result is that Bettman more likely than not exercised influence over Rogers management who in turn exercised editorial control over Sportsnet's corps of writers by placing the emails off limits. If you're Gary this makes a lot of sense: just as the commissioner is not going to say anything that could be damaging to the league in its legal fight with the ex-players, neither should the league's media partners at Rogers.

 

This makes no sense if you run a sports network. Why hire all of these respected journalists if you are not going to put them to work on the most important stories? This is precisely the kind of story where you want to call on their skill and talent to treat the issues seriously and with tact.

 

For contrast, consider these quotes from when the infamous Rogers/NHL deal was signed. As Sean Fitz-Gerald reported:

 

"There was some friendly banter near the end of the news conference on Tuesday, when host — and Sportsnet veteran — Daren Millard took a gentle jab at the NHL’s troubled franchises in the United States. “You now have to play nice,” Bettman said, to laughter in the room. “It’s going to take some getting used to, OK,” Millard said. “Well, you’d better get used to it quick,” Bettman said.

 

That raised a follow-up question from the floor about the freedom Sportsnet journalists will have to question the NHL, when so much money has been tied into the two groups. “The No. 1 thing is maintaining journalistic integrity,” Pelley said. “And we would insist on nothing less,” Bettman said. “Our fans want authenticity. We never control the coverage of our game — which is obvious by some of the treatment.”"

 

There is something unsettling about this seemingly lighthearted exchange as we look at it retrospect. Essentially we were being told exactly what would take place under the terms of the partnership, and we had better get used to it quick.

 

Evaluating the Evidence

 

Since Rogers took over there have not been many stories that we could use as barometers for whether Sportsnet has accepted a soft journalistic approach to its coverage of the NHL.

 

One piece of evidence is Ron MacLean's relegation to media Siberia following his history of, shall we say, "challenging" interviews with Gary. No one except a handful of people knows for sure, but the common view in the industry is that Gary demanded that Rogers move MacLean out of the host chair as part of their negotiations on the $5.2 billion dollar exclusive national rights deal. Bringing in Strombo makes a certain kind of sense if you are hoping to broaden your base outside of the traditional hockey fan, but essentially cutting one of the established faces of your brand out of the playoffs makes very little sense as a broadcast move. It does make sense if the goal is to celebrate the game and you think MacLean won't go along with that mandate as a host.

 

However, it must be noted that Sportsnet has not totally shied away from the other issues that have cropped up over the last 20 months. Here's Chris Johnston writing about the Voynov case, though he spends a lot of the piece praising the NHL for its swift action. But they did cover it. Could Sportsnet have spent more time raking the commish over the coals for his not so subtly racially charged comment that "our players know what's right and wrong"? Maybe. However, the lack of coverage of the NHL emails is so complete that it slaps you right in the face. There simply is no more plausible explanation than that Sportsnet took its editorial marching orders from the NHL.

 

Scott Moore and his new boss Rick Brace are playing a very dangerous game by acquiescing to Gary's law.

 

First, the NHL is just one property among many in the sports landscape. In 10 years time, under different leadership and with a changing demographic landscape, Rogers may move on from its exclusive rights deal. What happens then? If you have destroyed the credibility of your network during that time, then this genuflection might not turn out to be worth it. Better to maintain consistent standards regardless of which rights you control.

 

Second, you are one of the biggest employers of sports journalism in North America. Presumably you want to attract the best to your network, and keep them away from the competition. If you start to become known as the network where you have the check your journalistic ethics at the door, that might affect the kind of talent you can attract and keep.

 

Third, think about what you are doing to the reputation of the people who already work there. If you're Shi Davidi and you have worked hard to overcome the perception that you're a house reporter, this has to hurt. The Rogers/NHL deal has nothing to do with Shi, but he will be caught in its undertow. Further, Sportsnet wants to be able to deploy Grange and Brunt and others to cover other sports beyond the NHL. That's part of why you paid them big bucks to get out of the newspaper industry. But if you tarnish their reputation by capitulating to Gary's demands, then you also diminish their value in all the other work they do.

 

Where do we go from here? Well, this ought to affect how we view Sportsnet's NHL coverage going forward. This has undermined the network's credibility as a whole. I am loath to declare that the writers in question should all be viewed with suspicion. I have no idea how hard they fought this. Based on their bodies of work, I suspect they don't like being told what they can and cannot write about.

 

I hope this doesn't set a precedent. The absolute worst thing for the audience is leagues using rights as leverage over news departments. We saw a glimpse of this in the NFL's attempt to squash the League of Denial documentary. If anything, ESPN has been even more vigilant about shining a spotlight on the league's problems since then. The NFL's own network has been vocal in criticizing Goodell, as have people working at NBC, CBS, and Fox. But the NFL has many media partners and this diffuses their ability to keep people on message. By contrast, Gary has one national partner for a whole country.

 

Regardless of which network you cheer for, I think we can all agree that Gary's "all or nothing" strategy is dangerous if it leads to networks controlling their journalists on behalf of their league partners. Journalists need their bosses fighting on their behalf, and by extension, on behalf of the audience.

 

Sportsnet, and Rogers by extension, failed their employees by allowing Gary to set editorial policy. They also failed their customers and the sports public at large. Let's hope this is the slap in the face that wakes everyone up. Let's hope this is not a glimpse into the future of sports media.

 

Does the Shoe Fit?

 

I spoke to many people in the industry this week and one of the talking points that came up was: would TSN do anything differently if the shoe were on the other foot? In other words, if TSN had the NHL deal, would they be telling McKenzie and Dreger not to talk about concussions? This is obviously a hypothetical question we cannot answer definitively. One thing we can do is look at the evidence we do have before us now.

 

  • Item 1: TSN is owned by Bell who also own a chunk of the Leafs. The Leafs are one of the teams that stand to be hurt by the concussion litigation. Yet TSN has been pumping out stories and features on the effects of concussions on players. (Note: the Lifetime Penalty feature is very hard to find on TSN's useless website, but is definitely worth your time).

 

  • Item 2: TSN has an exclusive and tight relationship with the CFL yet have published critical stories about the league. They could probably be more critical, but we have some evidence that when the story is big enough, it will be discussed.

 

  • Item 3: Bell recently fired its President for trying to meddle with the newsroom. I have no idea if the sports section is held to the same standards, but this is at least some evidence that corporate meddling is not tolerated (when it is egregious and public).

 

It is an open question whether Bell has different sensibilities than Rogers when it comes to the relationship between their business side and their media/news side. Only people who have worked both places would be able to speak to that.

 

I am not so naive as to think business interests never shape media coverage. The important question is whether news value trumps business interests on the stories that matter the most. I contend this is one of those stories, and Rogers went with business instead. Sure, it's not voter fraud or political corruption or some other story where massive public goods are at stake. But human lives have been, and may continue to be, shattered by brain disease from playing a sport we all watch. That's a news story to me.

 

Final Thoughts

 

Two more things.

 

1) There is a spectrum of possible approaches Sportsnet could have taken. At one end is devoting its full resources to covering this story, and leaving no stone unturned. At the other end is burying the story. This latter path is the one they have chosen. A better option was available to them. Go to Elliotte or Brunt and say "listen, we need you to cover this. Be fair, be a journalist, but remember these are our partners and avoid taking any cheap shots." If you go this route you avoid much of the criticism that the NHL is pulling the strings at your network.

 

2) On the substantive issue of the league's liability for players' brain injuries, here is a POV I heard a lot this week:

 

 

There are a couple of reasons why I disagree with this.

 

First, ask any parent if they have qualms about their kids playing hockey, and you'll get a mixed response. Ask them if they would let their kids box, and the answer will be mostly negative. But a central point of this lawsuit is to find out if we should have the same attitude towards hockey as we do towards boxing. That's something for which the league is responsible, and the players have a case if they can show that the league was negligent in its duty to find out what the true risks of its product are.

 

Second, the tort of negligence is not an "all or nothing" proposition in most jurisdictions. You can say the players are partly to blame without exonerating the league. In other words, both may have been negligent in their duties of care, and this will reduce the damages the league must pay if they are found to be liable. But to suggest you have to pick one side over the other is not true. You can choose to blame both, but that doesn't mean the league is off the hook financially.

 

Quick Hits

 

The New York Times and the NFL are at war over the facts surrounding the league's concussion story. At issue are the NYT's claims that "research on concussions sustained by pro football players was deeply flawed and incomplete and that there were ties between the NFL and the tobacco industry."

 

Buffalo hockey writers are being roasted for nominating an alleged drunk driver as their Masterton Trophy candidate. You can play games with semantics to try to justify the nomination but the arguments make you sounds pretty silly.

 

The Ross Atkins media charm tour is off to a bumpy start. He has impossibly large shoes to fill, but he's going to need to work on his likability a little. I recommend beginning every answer with "great question guys …" The local media always fell for that trick with AA.

 

The disaster in the desert is looking to write an expensive new chapter. I imagine dissertations will be written on the Glendale fiasco and how it could have been avoided. I still contend you could come up with a great sitcom loosely based around the Coyotes and Glendale city politics.

 

We should get a lot of fun new baseball GIFs this season as MLB and Apple have struck a deal to put iPads in every dugout. I look forward to seeing a manager hurl his iPad on to the field in disgust as he's ejected for using the MLB app to show that a called strike was clearly outside.

 

We talked at length about pay equity for women's sports last week. This week some top women's soccer players are thinking of suing their employer based on wage discrimination, citing the fact that they earn way less than their much less successful make counterparts.

 

In a move aimed at cord-cutters, Rogers has decided to offer its suite of Sportsnet TV channels as a streaming service without a cable subscription. This is a bold move since sports is supposed to the lure that forces people into buying expensive packages and renting digital boxes, and signing up for bundles for cell service. One theory is that this offering is expensive enough that it won't be an incentive to cut your cord, but might be cheap enough to keep people as customers who would never pay for cable.

 

If you're a fan of Tim Thompson (@b0undless) and his HNIC montages, you can see some of his recent video work here.

 

Low Hanging Fruit

 

  • Go Jays.
  • J'adore Montréal.
  • Bring back the Expos
  • No time to listen to radio this week. Tell me what I missed.

 

—–

 

thanks for reading and commenting,

until next time …

mike (not really in boston)

84 Comments

  1. Rob J says:

    Healy on PTS recounted the time Messier told the Rangers to go get one of Dallas’ skilled players as revenge. He, Bob, and Grange all chuckled over the memory of Modano getting concussed, not knowing where he was, and stretchered out (the famous clip of him being dropped at the ambulance). Yeah, real funny guys. I thought for sure Grange would have said something reasonable about how dumb it was in hindsight to injure a superstar but no, he laughed right along. Messier sounds like the worst the NHL had to offer back then and yet he’s beloved as a leader instead of a bully. Guess its still cool to laugh at concussions in some circles.

  2. jbg says:

    I think Grange was a little sick and a bit getting thru the work day. Several weeks ago Cherry was on PTS and talking about gutless Turgeon and how Hunter should never have been suspended. Grange took him to task but both Don and Bob dismissed his comments. So I was a little surprised that Grange didn’t let a that’s idiotic to the Healy story.

    I know the nhl sent videos to all teams in the past of examples of bad hits and good hits. We’re these videos ever made public? Be a good refresher for fans to know what the league deems good and bad and it can be updated as new examples are warranted.

  3. Too Much says:

    Great piece, MIB. For fun I searched ‘concussion’ on the Sportsnet website. The only full article addressing the NHL issue was from Associated Press. And as you noted Chris Johnston’s piece was breathtaking in its avoidance of any mention of concussion emails. Then the final hypocrisy that is shown via Grange’s takedown of the NFL on this issue. I think you are 100% correct in your conclusions – the NHL has told Rogers to stay away from the issue. Credibility and integrity have flown the coop at Sportsnet.

  4. mario says:

    Thanks for a great read. Yes lots to digest in terms of concussion in the NHL. They continually stick there heads in the sand and refuse to look at the big picture on protecting there brand. Rogers like Bell when they had the rights also was very neutral when it came to criticizing them when they are the rights holder. As I believe someone in a previous post suggested Bell was also guilty of this when it came to the CFL.

  5. Toronto Mike says:

    For the curious, I had Ron MacLean over this week and I asked him straight out if his criticism of Gary Bettman cost him the hosting job at Hockey Night in Canada. Hear his honest answer here: http://www.torontomike.com/2016/03/toronto_miked_podcast_episode_165.html

  6. billyjoejimbob says:

    There is one issue you have left out.

    McKenzie and Dreger are not involved in the reporting, because their emails are involved. I have to assume Brunt, Cox, Friedman, Grange and Johnston are similar. Is it possible they are not commenting because of that?

  7. Big says:

    Mike Wilner on his own is a disgrace to journalistic truth and integrity, but far from the only tainted horse in the stable. Your right MIB it all starts with the trainers.

    On another note
    I’ve always wondered why the two big telcos are so subservient, who else would Gary go to if both companies stood their ground on content control. Gary needs Canada as a broadcast partner as Canada’s teams pretty much bankroll the nhl. Two giants letting the little guy bully them yet the giants have the green, ya you guessed it kryptonite, better known as money to Gary.

  8. Tanner says:

    I’m surprised MIB didn’t bring up Bob McKenzie’s e-mails. Notably, the one where he suggests a suspension to Colin Campbell. Even the game amounts which seemed to imply he’s trying to influence the league. In my little world, this was a major issue with people calling Bob a shill and too cozy with the league. I think Bob’s credibility did take a hit as has Sportsnet’s since they are basically avoiding it altogether.

    Should McKenzie be that close to a league exec? I see him as an analyst so I’m OK with it. Much of his reporting is based on opinions. He’s paid to offer them and be a talking head but it seems like a lot of people think he’s a straight reporter and shouldn’t have any opinions or biases. A group of people seemed more upset about McKenzie than Rogers glossing over the story entirely. If Rogers looks bad in all this, how does TSN’s star NHL insider look after all this?

  9. Cirroc says:

    It a makes me sick to know that mon fuhrer, er Bettmen has this much influence over Rogers. Just goes to show how bush league Rogers and Sportsnet really are.

  10. Brian says:

    @ Rob J It’s convenient to take this position but if a Messier-esque hockey player came along and led the Leafs to a championship or two by knocking his opponents all over the ice and serving up the odd concussion, he would become a god in Toronto and few would care about his on-ice behaviour. But because Messier has no affiliation with this market we can, with hindsight, cast him as a “bully” and a bad dude. That’s crap.

    The fact that Sportsnet avoided the NHL emails speaks to the power the NHL has with its rights agreement. If Sportsnet were to write extensively on this topic, it would be interesting to know how the NHL would punish the network. Would it refuse to give SN the games it wants on specific nights? Would it limit its access to Bettman and Daly? Or would it go as far as to keep the next rights agreement from SN in 10 years? Whatever it was, it has to be fairly serious for SN to compromise itself to this extent.

    I think this also speaks to the leadership at SN. Moore is compromised. He’s made lots of questionable talent decisions, gone over budget and now he’s letting the NHL dictate his network’s editorial agenda. If you don’t have an eye for talent, can’t properly manage resources and lack the backbone to the stand up to the NHL, tell me again why you deserve to keep your job??

  11. Original Mitch says:

    I fully believe Sportsnet boss sent out a company email saying ‘don’t address the elephant in the room’. They put so much into this nhl deal that the last thing they need is this kind of attention. Its not a coincidence that none of their writers even addressed it. The writers may be shills, but they aren’t dumb. They know a juicy story and want to address it. In this case they can’t under severe punishment i’m guessing.
    Its the same with the Bautista contract #’s. Once it was out there, Sportsnet was forced to address it, and they did it without ever giving it real credence even though it was public knowledge.
    Sportsnet is a glorified advertising agency for the NHL and the Jays.
    I’m sure TSN would be as well if they held the rights to those teams and leagues.

  12. Rob J says:

    @Brian
    If good ole Mess told players in the room to target Modano (who did nothing to deserve it), he’s more than a bully. And the leafs aren’t winning a Cup in our lifetimes, so bad analogy.

  13. Mike V says:

    And based on Damian Cox’s flippant Twitter response, not only are the hockey “journalists” at Sportsnet completely ok with being told not to talk about this but their strategy to defend themselves is to just repeat lies that they are reporting on it.

  14. Drumanchor says:

    Partners?

    What does that really mean, anyway? In it’s zeal to be seen as the only major player in sports broadcasting in the land, Rogers agreed to a $5.2 billion dollars licensing deal with the NHL. With this tremendously costly investment, they, seemingly, have also agreed to ask “how high?” when the league demands that they jump.

    What right does the league have to impose – at least optically – these restrictions on a ‘partner’?

    If Rogers actually does wish to be seen by their customers (which seem to be dwindling by the minute) and the rest of the media world as credible, they should seriously consider revisiting how they conduct themselves as a journalistic entity. They’ve paid a helluva lot of money to be pushed around by people who really need that dough.

  15. AP says:

    Why is a sports league responsible to society to make the game safer? Why don’t governments step in? If it’s so obviously a cause and effect, why not? And why don’t fans ask it of their government?

  16. Rob in Aurora says:

    I am not surprised at sportsnets lack of balls on this story. This would not be necessarily be a Friedman or Cox story as they have relationships with league execs. Rick Westhead doenst do insider type of reporting, he is the stealth bomber guy that TSN hired. He’s like honey badger “he don’t care”…. Great work by Westhead. And if Bob McKenzie has a relationship with a league VP where he can send and receive emails and share his opinions, I say t speaks to hoe good he is at his job. He is the best in the business and Lebrun and Dreger are right behind him. Sportsnet is a me too outfit and always has been. They ” won” the bidding war, so they benefit. Telsn is free to piss on the league’s corn flakes all they want now with complete impunity. I love this.

    I will say there are a couple of guys in this suit that I know are in dire need of money and their participation is strictly ad a cash grab. Their head injuries have nothing to do with their finances be a shambles. So I take this case with a large grain of salt. I am not on the league’s side and never will be. But brain injuries, like any injury are a fact of life in hockey. Fighting shoukd be banned. But checking causes concussions more often than fighting. Are you going to ban checking?

  17. PL says:

    I don’t know how buried it is on their website, but even TSN reported on McKenzie and Dreger’s emails

    http://www.tsn.ca/tsn-emails-part-of-documents-unsealed-in-concussion-case-1.461831

  18. jbg says:

    I think the ultimate outcome of concussion studies will be just that, are these physical games inhierantly dangerous to the brain. If incidental contact causes damage then this should be acknowledged by the employers.it doesn’t mean get rid of checking. It means letting everyone know what research has shown. Then it is up to people to decide if the job is worth the risk. It’s a matter of employers not hiding information. If they are not hiding information and simply did not know that is another issue. Punching someone in the face is not a basic act of hockey it is easily legislated out if the act is found to be unduly dangerous.

  19. Curt says:

    @Drumanchor: I made that same point last week. Rogers pays $5.2 billion and they DON’T have editorial control over their NHL news? Ridiculous. I understand that Sportsnet are reluctant to report on anything that will potentially damage one of their “properties”, but by turning a blind eye to this story they’ve now officially become an extension to the NHL network. And I don’t know who will ever take them (and they’re huge stable of once highly regarded journalists) seriously again.

    Great post, MIB.

  20. Original Mitch says:

    Do you want to talk about concussions, potential deadly effects and the horrifying truth? Or Do you want to see Jose Bautista sock a few dingers?

    -Sportsnet

  21. Rob J says:

    The other issue SN-FAN nor TSN will ever discuss is the lawsuit filed against the CHL for signing players to contracts the teams knew were unlawful re: minimum wage. Just checked: yes, SN is the home of major junior hockey in Canada, and TSN carries the World Juniors each December.

  22. WestDaleRocks says:

    I strongly disagree with that Buffery tweet. The issue isn’t that players understood the risks. It’s that concussions were not dealt with properly. Doctors and medical staffs of almost every football and hockey team are likely all guilty of sending players back into the fray, who were clearly not ready to return to action. In my opinion, neglect of retired players is also a HUGE issue, one that leagues will pay big bucks for in the coming years after the dust has settled from these lawsuits. Medical benefits, especially for retired NFL players, are pathetic. The story of Darryl Talley is the most recent, but there are many, many others. The sad truth is that the class action suit settled by the NFL about 9 months ago—the one that the judge rejected because it wasn’t good enough—was accepted by the players at that time because they desperately needed funds to cover already huge medical bills. Make no mistake. The NFL….and eventually the NHL and probably a number of other leagues….are going to be forced, legally, to pay HUGE dollars out for the care of former athletes.

  23. yaz says:

    At least Bettman didn’t email any dick pics to Campbell. Or they haven’t been released yet.

  24. Brian says:

    Why would Bettman email a photo of you, Yaz?

  25. William D says:

    @AP

    If a league fails to ensure safety, why should potential owners invest in a business that has liability issues like safety? I get that in a league like hockey, teams are like a tax right off to many of the owners but nonetheless you not investing to totally waste money and not ensuring safety puts an investors money at risk.

    You call for government involvement yet in the U.S hockey is very low on the pecking on major sports networks why would Mr.Obama care? In Canada it’s quite the opposite,hockey is so much of a priority to Canadians to the point where if Mr. Trudeau stepped into hockey safety matters or otherwise the backlash would be similar to the Gun backlash in the States. Government involvement on either side of the globe makes no sense as both governments have fatter fish to fry right now. Oh and one more thing, a lot of governments are in bed with leagues for various reasons hockey is certainly not excluded.

  26. William D says:

    Correction either side of the border.

  27. Brian says:

    I know that I know the answer to my own question BUT why is it that the NHL holds Sportsnet by the shorts when Sportsnet writes the cheque every year 5.2 B In the words of Bobcat #biteme

  28. GreyCountyMike says:

    Could be just me, but it seems Mike Wilner is already annoying … and we’re only two days into April! It’s going to be a long season.

  29. AP says:

    @William D

    Health and safety is on the pecking order for governments in any other industry.

    Just seems to me sports fans enjoy the discussion of concussions, etc in the confines of a sports story. But even those fans who complain aren’t serious enough to demand government action.

  30. Claire A Fye says:

    @Original Mitch I hope you were kidding when you suggested a Sportsnet boss would send a company wide email telling people not to write about the concussion issue. Because you know, we’re talking about leaked EMAILS! I’ve commented on the negativity on this board ( and others have as well) but I’ve come to accept it. Stupidity is another matter.

  31. William D says:

    @AP

    I don’t think a game of hockey or any sport for that matter is that much of importance to any civilized government, especially a country does not necessarily need sports. The entertainment industry is of self governance and should stay as such, athletes in the four major leagues are independent contractors under the protection of a union, the hockey union should be forcing the league for better safety guidelines for it’s members. The union can force change on the league a lot faster and more efficiently than a bunch of lost bureaucrats. Sports and politics should avoid each other when possible.

  32. Rob in Aurora says:

    @ GreyCounty Mike: Wilner never stopped being annoying. He must be related to someone in management. I could never understand how he got that job in the first place. How he keeps it must be due to nepotism

  33. Rob J says:

    Why we non-Toronto-teams sports fans love Dave Perkins on PTS: when Bob said there’d be stories every day if Stamkos came here and stuggled, Perk immediately countered with ‘no, there’d be stories every day on how they’re on the right track.’ Perfect assessment of the media cheerleaders, Dave.

  34. Curious says:

    Didn’t watch last night – how did HNIC cover the leaked e-mail story? Was the editorial approach any different than earlier Rogers coverage? And might tonight’s Hometown Hockey broadcast take on even a different tact? (Especially after the Execs, talent and producers read comments on discussion boards like these.)

    I know this is a “Toronto” Sports Media site but I am also interested in knowing how the coverage played out in the US. Had a quick look at NBC Sports’ website and their “concussion” coverage seems to mirror that of Sportsnet’s. While I recognize coverage of the NHL is not a priority south of the boarder, might Mr. Bettman office’s long shadow have influenced the coverage of this issue with their US broadcast partner as well?

  35. MontfromLondonOnt says:

    @Rob in Aurora-
    My thoughts exactly re Wilner –
    It has to be nepotism or he works for free-
    There can be no other reason why he still has a job-

  36. jbg says:

    I don’t understand the hate for Wilner.He can be sanctimonious over Grammer or phrasing but he calls a spade a spade. People ask his opinion and he gives it and backs it up with actual numbers. He is always prepared and aware of world around him. Sure he leans toward glass is half full but you have to lean in one direction.

  37. D. Smith says:

    Sportsnet’s response is not entirely unexpected. When TSN had the natitional rights they weren’t very critical of the league either. As far as Maclean’s interviews were more about him grandstanding than anything else. He hitched his wagon to Don Cherry so anything critical he has to say about the issue wouldn’t seem genuine to me.

  38. Original Mitch says:

    @claireafye

    What? What does leaked emails have to do with a person in management giving orders to their employees via electronic mail?
    Thanks for calling me stupid. I guess I am since I don’t understand the correlation of your point. Would it make more sense if I put it “I’m sure management told in person or oh the phone” their employees to skirt the issue since they have a close relation with the league?

  39. Claire A Fye says:

    @Original Mitch Yeah it would make a difference. There would be no electronic trail that could come back and bite them in the ass. Remember, this whole thing became an issue because of leaked emails. BTW, I don’t discount the possibility that that’s exactly what happened. But not by email. Imagine how that would look if it ever got out. And you know it would eventually. I wasn’t calling you stupid…the idea was stupid

  40. AP says:

    Have you read the emails? It’s shocking the things they discussed over email. They actually are that stupid. And more relevant to this site, why are media members making suggestions to the league of punishments? Aren’t Mackenzie and Dredger supposed to just report the news? These emails show hours in bed Canadian media is with the NHL.

  41. Curt says:

    A little pedantic there. I really don’t think it matters how SN reporters were muzzled. The point is that were (almost definitely) muzzled.

  42. Original Mitch says:

    @claireafye

    While I agree that a meeting in person would be much safer and offer up a dialogue as well, its not like the bosse’s email can’t be tactful and written in a way that isn’t overt in its intention. Leaving a paper trail is dumb, that much we agree. But they could still cover their tracks with a proper, vague email, spewing nonsense like ‘waiting for more info’ and ‘look at it from all angles’ type stuff.

  43. Daz66778 says:

    In reference to Dave Perkins above, while I like him on PTS, IMO he usually has a negative comment about most things related to Toronto fans, the leafs or MLSE in general. Conversely, he seems to have a love-in for anything golf related.

  44. Rob J says:

    @Daz66778
    Have you been following the MLSE record since they bought the Leafs, not to mention that of all the major Tor teams over the last 20+ years? Perkins isn’t being negative, he’s being objective. He’s smart enough to know that 99 percent of the Tor sports media are completely in the tank for the local teams and have become stenographers instead of journalists. I’m sure other guys would love to be more truthful as well but know it would be a career-killer. Being essentially retired, Dave can speak his mind.

  45. jaybird says:

    i need a bit more time to digest all of this and to offer further contributing thoughts- but in the meantime- outstanding piece this week MIB, THANK YOU for the time/effort and balanced thoughts. if only some companies within the 5th estate coiuld offer the same…

  46. Dros says:

    That’s how I know everyone on here is old–barely a mention about Sportsnet launching a streaming service, appealing to cord-cutters.

    While the price is still too high to do any significant damage, I think this signifies a monumental shift in how people view their sports. TSN is obviously going to follow suit, so that whole cord-cutting phenomenon could get going even faster, since most people claim to only keep their cable for live sports.

    For young people such as myself that don’t have cable, it shows that (albeit reluctantly), the businesses are listening and bending to what consumers want.

    That’s a win.

  47. Omar says:

    @MIB, great piece, maybe your best yet. Keep up the good work.

    All of Sportsnet reporting re the NHL and specifically the Jays/Leafs reads like press releases from the Kremlin in the old Soviet Union….too bad, we deserve better.

  48. Rob J says:

    Don’t think its about age. It’ll cost $25 for the sportsnets, then probably an other $25 for the TSNs. $50 a month for 2 services! At some point it will be cheaper just to get or keep cable.

  49. Commando Bob says:

    If anyone follows the Blue Jays, what Rogers is doing shouldn’t surprise anyone. The leaks involving Jose Bautista’s contract extension from Rogers to TSN along with AA’s real reasons of departing, along with Mike Wilner’s annual “Get RA Dickey out of town” rumors. You can’t trust the media here in Canada especially since Rogers/Bell own our major sports teams in Toronto

    Majority would have seen this coming moment we heard Bettman had his hands on ousting Ron Maclean as the main host.

  50. Steve on St Clair says:

    @dros

    I’m an old cord-cutter. Haven’t had cable for decades but I’m an avid consumer of online media now that it’s available. The one thing I miss is sports. Especially baseball.

    My interest was piqued by the Sportsnet online package but it’s much to expensive right now. And I’m not sure that Jay’s home games are included in the package (haven’t really looked into it because it’s too expensive).

  51. Dros says:

    @Steve on St Clair

    It does. I’m in the trial period and watched yesterday’s game.

    It also says on their marketing page that all 162 Jays games are included. Watched the Raps game on Saturday night and the Jays game yesterday. Not bad.

  52. Eric says:

    @Dros

    The sportsnet streaming package is a joke. $25 for 1 small channel package? Come on. If you are young, you are probably tech savy enough to know about free streaming services like Kodi.

    Why would I give Rogers $25 for Sportsnet when I can catch all the sports I want with addons like Sports Devil or Phoenix.

    If Networks want to capture the younger market they need to lower their prices. I don’t believe most people who are turning to streaming are doing so because they want to watch on their tablets or phones. I think most of us still prefer the TV if we are home, we just want to save some money.

    Why pay more for less be it on TV or a mobile device?

    If you want me to stay away from Kodi than make the legit services more affordable.

  53. Too Much says:

    Based on Sportsnet NOW website, it would seem all Jays games will be available for streaming. Some games like Thursday night NFL, NHL games shown on CBC, etc are not available. http://www.sportsnet.ca/sn-now-faq/

  54. Steve on St Clair says:

    Interesting @dros, the MLB at Bat package blacks out home games, or at least it has up until last season. Figured Sportsnet might choose to do the same. Blackouts are counterproductive to my mind, of course.

  55. Big G says:

    The sportsnet now application is simply Rogers trying to take another angle to get eyeballs. The price is simply ridiculous. It’s clear that people are cutting cable not for a lack of accessibility based on location at the time, but as a cost cutting measure. It’s obvious people are now willing to settle for highlights or viewing the content through backdoor accessibility methods. Why would consumers cancel their cable package to subtribe to a service which places a strain on limited bandwidth (cell phone or home internet) which will result in upgrading cell phone or your home internet plan, in addition to the monthly 24.99 subscription fee. This completely defeats the purpose of cost cutting. Shomi, sportsnet now, not now not ever.

  56. Big G says:

    @Eric

    I totally agree with you on the accessing content from places like kodi, however the authors of those addons don’t always update/maintain the addon, leaving the addon with alot of broken or unreliable links to content. I totally get where your coming from though.

  57. William D says:

    I Tried to access Wrestlemania 32 last night on Kodi through the sportsdevil addon, no luck, all links to the event were non responsive except for one that was not in English.

  58. Eric says:

    @William D

    There are lots of other addons. i wouldn’t recommend Sports Devil for a Big PPV like Mania. Do a google search you will find lots of alternatives.

    @Big G. yes there are some broken addons. but it’s usually easy to find a good replacement. If you have the addon installer it makes finding them really painless.

    is kodi Perfect? far from it. But it’s free (for the most part, some addons cost money) And you get way more content than a netflixs.

    To get a Cable package that could even come remotely close to Kodi in terms of content you would spend a fortune.

    I am not cutting the cord all togther. I kept My Bell Fibe TV. but i did downgrade from the Best package to the good package. I also nologer buy NFL Sunday Ticket, NHL Centre Ice, HBO or any othe expensive addons.

    And No way in hell am I going to pay $25 for sportsnet or even $4 for Crave or $14 for Netflix.

    If Bell and Rogers want to keep us longer term, than give us more for less not the other way around.

  59. Mike V says:

    MLB.TV hasn’t blacked out the Blue Jays in Canada for a number season now if you want to go that route Steve. The arrangement has never been publicly disclosed but I’m sure Rogers is getting a cut of each sub sold here for giving up the exclusive broadcast territorial rights.

    Everyone agrees that the price for Sportsnet NOW is too much for it to have mass appeal. I fully expect it to come down at some point (or Rogers to offer bundling it with an internet/wireless account for a discounted price of say $10/month). We’ve seen from Netflix that consumers will pay for reliable access to content they want but price point is key.

  60. Eric says:

    I don`t know a lot of people who pay for Netflix anymore.

    I mean I know a bunch that have Netflix, but most of them are using someone else`s password.

    A few years back everyone I knew had it and paid for it. Then it became harder to get the US version. Then the price went up. Then people discovered Kodi.

    Price point is key. and so is amount of content. People don`t like Canadian Netflix or at least not enough to pay for it if they know about something cheaper or with more content.

    I hate to sound like a cheat. I would much rather stick to Bell or Rogers and have that reliable high quality source. I`m just sick of getting gouged at every turn.

    Maybe If I was a single guy and could build a smaller package around sports it would be ok. But I have to have all sorts of channels for my wife`s shows. and Kids channels for my son. And then this premium package and that perineum package.

    It`s all too much. who can afford it? Not to mention how insane my cell phone bill is.

  61. Dros says:

    @Mike V

    Agreed. Guaranteed that price comes down. You come out of the gate high, and, if no one is buying your product, you lower it. We know that’s what’s going to happen here.

    @Eric

    I am young and tech savvy, and I am aware of a multitude of streaming sites to get content for free, but you see, I don’t agree with that. As someone that went to school for media, I feel an obligation to pay for what people create for a living. If we all pirate content, then eventually, companies won’t be able to monetize the content. Jo-schmo streaming guy isn’t going to go out and produce my hockey games if all the regular networks go bankrupt.

    I want those services and I want them at a decent price. My point was and still is, that this is a step in that direction. Just a few years ago, companies said they’d never make that move, but here we are, in 2016, and the first shoe has already fallen.

  62. Eric says:

    I don’t really agree with it either.

    But Bell and Rogers are still makes Billions. Still paying out Millions to their big shot suits, Still Laying off people even though they don’t really have to.

    And These same people hiked up our Cell phone packages to a insane amount. Meanwhile I struggle to pay for it all and give my family a decent life style.

    So screw em. When they are ready to be reasonable I’ll come back and pay for it. Until then Screw em I’ll be watching Kodi and saving some bucks so I can feed my family.

  63. Dros says:

    @Eric

    Content is not a right, keep in mind. People aren’t entitled to music, movies, shows or sports for free. That’s not how this works. You don’t get to walk into a house you can’t afford and just say, “The real estate industry makes enough money. This house is mine now.”

    We’ve just gotten to a point where we think content is our right to have for free. It’s people’s livelihoods to make that content. I don’t want them to be out of a job–I want to be one of the people that gets to be in their job someday.

    I understand the frustration; I don’t understand the vendetta.

  64. Eric says:

    @Dros

    It may not be a right, but if it’s available for free I’m taking it. Under the current laws viewing through a free streaming service like Kodi is not illegal. Now maybe the guys who post the content are breaking the law but that’s a different story.

    So in the end it’s not really the same thing as stealing a house.

  65. Eric says:

    I don’t want them to be out of a job either.

    but Rogers and Bell cuts them when times are good too. That’s just the way things are in this system we have built. Managers get bonuses tied to cost controls. easy cost to control is labour. manager cuts labour, manager gets bonus.

    It’s sad but that’s the way it works, not just in media or telcom but in all industries.

    Even when companies are doing very well, if they see an opportunity for savings or to be “lean” they take it.

    When a CEO gets $25 mil in bonuses in the same year his company cuts jobs of guys making 50K or so.. that’s messed up. If he just gave 5 mil of that back he could save 100 jobs.

    So forgive me If I don’t feel a great deal of guilt for trying to save $100 bucks.

    If This is having a imapct on their business then cut the top end fat or bring your prices down and make them more attractive.

    Given the choice between Rogers @ a reasonable price for a lot of content. or Kodi for free. I’d take Rogers every time.

    But their prices are not reasonable far from it, and they just keep getting worse.

    No quilt here. They have a lot more power to save jobs than I do. If they put their greed first, then screw it so can I

  66. AssHat9000 says:

    Any player injured from contact with another should press assault charges. Problem solved.

  67. Dros says:

    @Eric

    “No quilt here. They have a lot more power to save jobs than I do. If they put their greed first, then screw it so can I”

    Do you realize you’re putting in place the same kind of system you rebuked a CEO for, earlier in your rant? A CEO’s job is to maximize profit and steer the ship–in any business. Them deciding between a bonus for themselves and cutting employees is the exact same (in reverse) as you saying, “I could pay it, but I won’t. Screw them”

    From both points of view, the people hurt are the ones in the middle actually doing all of this work. Neither scenario hurts the CEO.

  68. Joe says:

    I’m with Eric 100% on this.

    It’s an expensive world we live in. If you have a chance to get something cheaper or free (leagaly) do it.

    Don’t cry for these big companies, they sure as hell don’t cry for you.

  69. Eric says:

    I think we got side tracked.

    The point isn’t whether you should use things like Kodi or not. You can be as for it or against it as you want to be.

    The point is it exists and many other things like it exists.

    Bottom line is Rogers wants to keep people from turning to these Solutions. They will provide more content at a lower price.

    If they don’t more and more people will cut the cord. Like it or not this is the reality.

    I say this not to promote any service free or otherwise. Just calling it as I see it.

  70. MattK says:

    I don’t mind paying for Netflix, I like my tv series so it does the job. I could see myself changing it to another streaming service for a month to get more variety. The movie selection is disappointing on Netflix.

    I wouldn’t pay $25 for Sportsnet if I could get Blue Jay games on MLB tv. If I did pay the $25 since I watch Jays games I would feel taken advantage of though and would go out of my way to make sure that Rogers wouldn’t get any more money from me. No way I’d pay that during the winter.

  71. mike (in boston) says:

    jaybirdif only some companies within the 5th estate coiuld offer the same…

    Thanks for the kind words. I reached out to a few places last week to see if they would be covering this story and none of them had any interest. It’s shocking to me how little Canadian media cares about this issue. The US (and Canadian) media went ballistic over the ESPN/League of Denial controversy. Here we just shrug. Disappointing.

    If the media don’t care about journalistic ethics, what message does that send to the audience?

  72. mike (in boston) says:

    billyjoejimbob – that is a possibility I had not considered. Thanks for raising it.

    There is one other thing I left out of the column. It is possible that the Sportsnet coverage ban didn’t come from Moore but from above him. Guy Laurence runs the whole ship and while he did not sign the deal with the NHL, he has been very vocal in his support for the deal (what else is going to say?). Rick Brace is new and may want to put his stamp on things. Who knows …

    Anyway, just for fairness, it is worth considering the possibility that Moore fought for his employees’ journalistic freedom and was overruled by his superiors.

  73. Joe says:

    Intresting story I heard this morning that somewhat relates to this sportsnet now thing.

    Twitter will be broadcasting Thursday Night Football. TNF is left out of Sportsnet Nows package.

    With the NFL letting twitter broadcast TNF for free, And giving Yahoo a game last year I wonder if this is future of NFL Broadcasts. Selling off steaming rights to free internet services who will make money on advertising rather than high price packages like Sportsnet Now.

    I like this a lot. Good for the NFL. I hope other leagues follow soon.

  74. Dros says:

    @Joe

    The games are still required to be produced by somebody. Not like the NFL just puts them on themselves–it’s still a broadcasting company producing the games.

    Also, I very much doubt that experiment lasts. Yahoo lost a ton of money on their streaming game, and this is Twitter’s last ditch effort to really get a foothold in the social media landscape. They’re still not making any money. If the NFL charged them what we know they all charged them, I see this as a very hard thing for Twitter to make money from.

    Weird that people espouse on here about not attacking any on-air talent of respective stations and keeping things clean, but people have no problems with attacking other people’s livelihoods. As I’ve stated: people getting content for free doesn’t hurt the CEOs or the companies–it just hurts the workers. Dress it up however you like it; bury your head in the sand, it’ll still be so. Double standard, to be sure.

  75. Eric says:

    @Dros

    They are getting laid off now anyway even when Rogers is making a ton of money.

    As for Yahoo and Twitter, they are totally legit. Will it work maybe so, maybe not. but it’s still legit. I am not sure exactly how Hulu works but I believe there is a free one and a pay one (that’s not too expensive). Basically they put up all the TV shows there too.

    And most US network sites put their shows on there websites. So in the states there are other cheaper legit options. Here is way too expensive so people are turning to other methods. Some of it is legal (as long as it’s a stream and not a download) so It’s up to Rogers to adjust and win people back.

    I reject your idea that I need to act with some sort of social obligation to support people who make more money than I do, when others who make far far far more don’t seem to care about putting them out of work.

    As long as you are not breaking a law you are free to obtain product for as cheap a price as you can get. if it’s free even better. Perhaps the Laws are unfair and need to change but that is another story and another argument.

    If Millionaires & Billionaires don’t care about keeping people making 50-100k employed than why is it my responsibility to spend more to keep there job going with my $40k job.

    Screw that. I am responsible for supporting myself and my family. not yours.

  76. Bob Canuck says:

    This “Sportsnet Ban” (TM pending) theory has flourished despite the evidence that it does not exist.

    During the week of March 28, in addition to the noted Chris Johnston piece, the following appeared on various Sportsnet platforms:

    – The Associated Press story was published on the Sportsnet website. (http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/declassified-nhl-memos-emails-detail-concussion-debate/);

    – Stephen Brunt and Tim were joined by Elliotte Friedman on the Tim & Sid show and they addressed the NHL emails starting at the 1:00 minute mark. (http://www.sportsnet.ca/shows/tim-and-sid-show/ts-unsealed-emails-mean-nhl/?row=0&row_id=1617087&xp=2738769&up=3);

    – John Branch, who wrote the New York Times article that was linked to, was a guest on the Tim & Sid show on March 29. It starts at the 1:08:50 mark. (http://pmd.fan590.com/podcasts/tim-sid/ts_20160329_203022–Tim-and-Sid—March-29—5pm.mp30; and

    – The Marek vs Wyshynski podcast discussed the issue on March 30, commencing nine minutes into the podcast. (http://pmd.fan590.com/podcasts/marek_wyshynski/mw_20160330_185009–March-30th-Edition-of-Marek-vs.-Wyshynski.mp3).

    On Monday, April 4, Stephen Brunt and Jeff Blair discussed the matter on the Jeff Blair show, as did Michael Grange on Sportsnet Central.

    The examples noted above, together with the discussion of the issue on the Jeff Blair show and the Michael Grange interview, weakens the contention that Gary Bettman via Rogers / Sportsnet set editorial policy for Sportsnet. The email issue was addressed at least five times last week; if Gary is exercising control, it is not very effective in this instance.

    In baseball vernacular, the Sportsnet Ban (TM pending) story was not a swing and miss but probably closer to a foul tip: got some wood on the ball but not a hit.

  77. Joe says:

    @Dros & Eric

    I buy French’s Ketchup because I want to support Ontario Jobs. However If French’s was $30 a bottle and Heniz was $4 I’d buy Heniz.

    If they were both $30 a bottle. I’d go to McD’s buy a coke take that cup to the ketchup pump fill it up and take it home.

  78. Original Mitch says:

    As long as we Canadians continue to get gouged by outrageous cable/internet/phone charges because of the duopoly of the two companies in bed with the CRTC, I have ZERO guilt streaming sports online, via Kodi or whatever.
    Until the day comes where its a fair and equal competitive market and prices are brought down to reasonable levels, I will continue viewing sports in this habit.

  79. yaz says:

    Bizarre how TSN Overdrive just did an entire interview with Babcock and there wasn’t a peep from O’Neill and Noodles who did not say one single word. ( Apr 5, 530 PM). And Babcock sounded completely disinterested – on a speaker phone sounding like he was packing his luggage or something. Better than last time when it sounded like Babcock was in the back of an Italian police car involved in a high speed chase. Someone at Leafs media has to tell Babs to have undivided attention for the 15 minutes every two months he does a radio interview.

  80. Rob J says:

    @yaz
    Unlike most here, when I don’t like a show or segment, I just listen to something else instead of freaking out, so I can only imagine the incredible sucking-up the leaf media must do when they interview Babcock! The guy who cures all cancers AND eliminates taxes will never be fawned on more than the leaf coach.

  81. Pete says:

    @yaz

    Hayes admitted while teeing up the 5 o’clock hour that the Babcock interview was pre-recorded prior to the show.

  82. Alex says:

    Since i cant watch Tim and Sid (being in the states, notwithstanding i wouldnt watch anyway, and MvsW discussed it on the day Marek doesnt do the pod, i personally heard no segments about it last week.

    The first i heard was blair having tater (sp) on the other day and bob having someone on last night.

  83. Mike S says:

    Last Friday night I got into my car and turned the radio on………Wilner was doing the post game show on 590 after the Jays pre-season game in Montreal……….here is what I heard him say:

    “If the Jays go 40-41 on the road this season and win 60% of their home games that would mean they will win 98 games and that should be more than enough to win the AL East”

    I guess this means that Wilner is much better at being condescending than he is at doing math

  84. Bobby G says:

    Scott Stinson = Ineffectual.

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