Can The Toronto Sports Media Be Held Accountable

“And I’d love to prove my critics wrong and that includes you guys,” he said to a room full of reporters. “I just ask that you look back at those articles that were written and hold yourself accountable. If you’re holding me accountable, hold yourself accountable.”

Who said that? It could have been Bryan Colangelo or Brian Burke right? In this case it was Colangelo and as reported by the usual suspects and in this specific case by Steve Simmons.

Is that possible? Can the media be held accountable for the things that they write or say? Should they? Do we care? I think it should and I am pretty sure that the reason we have specific opinions on certain reporters is primarily due to the fact that some are more accountable then others. The Leafs have been out for long enough that a certain reporter who predicted that they were going to finish dead last should have given a mea culpa. That this hasn’t happened continues the slide in that one reporters credibility with his audience. Excuse the tangent here for a second, however I was at an event with a few sports executives a couple of days ago. I was introduced to a couple of NHL guru’s as the guy behind this site. 3 of them said the same thing to me, ________ (the reporter in question I am referring to above) is a really nice guy, but he hasn’t offered anything relevant either on the radio or in his writing in 4 years. He has become totally irrelevant. He hasn’t had one scoop in years besides the Curtis Joseph signing. One word…OUCH.

“I hold myself accountable for not foreseeing a Raptors collapse, a coach firing and a 33-win season. That’s my part of the equation.”

I laugh every time I read that quote from Simmons. Tongue firmly planted in cheek, it’s pretty funny. The thing about Colangelo is, in my opinion anyway, the media in this town want him to succeed. I truly believe that. When you read the good guys writing about the Raptors, it isn’t the same negative undertone that is associated with the Jays or the Raptors.

Jeff Blair, who has arguably become the best, yes the best sports writer in town had another great argument on the Raptors boss:

“He has three babies — Bosh, Bargnani and Calderon — he doesn’t want to throw out with the bathwater. Burke? He might have one or two, but, uh, don’t push him too hard. Colangelo’s news conference seemed to be aimed more at his employer, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, and less at the fans and media, which is the shrewdest course of action at a time when he acknowledged that he has had to make phone calls to season-ticket holders and meet with owners of luxury suites.There is plenty to like about Colangelo. He’s urbane, he’s comfortable with the game’s European reality, and seems to travel well around the corridors, practice facility and dressing room. But now we’re going to see firsthand how he handles no longer being the fair-haired boy. Teams passed the Raptors this year, and even Colangelo admitted it’s not just a matter of adding talent and filling specified positions, he also has to make the team tougher. It’s the Wizard of Oz trifecta: no brain, no heart, too shy.

Tough but fair comments. Isn’t that what a GM wants? Isn’t that what a player wants? Everyone in the media makes predictions, hell, Hogan and Toth do almost a whole show to both make and then review their predictions every year. Why aren’t these guys judged on their record. When Bob Mccown all but hand delivers Mats Sundin to the New York Rangers, and then Sundin signs in Vancouver, there should be some sort of accountability right? Shouldn’t we demand it? Don’t we deserve it?

I love this bit from Dave Perkins in the Toronto Star:

“Colangelo sounded wounded that he has taken a few spears to the reputation – “I should have thicker skin after all these years,” he said – and put any halo slippage down to a matter of timing; if the Raps hadn’t been so good in his first year here, winning the division, everyone’s hopes wouldn’t have swollen up so much. “I apparently did a bad job of managing expectations,” he said, sounding like a guy back very much on his heels. This surely is not vintage Colangelo. He’s usually the smartest guy in the room and doesn’t mind if you know that.”

You see, and I have said this a million times before, no one in the media has ever really challenged Colangelo. Everyone, you see is a hockey genius. Few if any consider themselves basketball savvy enough to take on the GM of the Raptors. That Colangelo is “lashing out” a little bit is terrific. It means he is pissed. That, for you and I is good. That means he will work a little harder, care a little bit more and try more then his best this summer. That isn’t to suggest he didn’t put in a full 100% last year. It just means that he, once again is out to prove. That can never be a bad thing. I don’t think it’s much different from what Wilson and to a certain extent Burke had to go through when they arrived. Never a bad thing when one feels like they have to prove themselves. I only wish some members of the media were so compelled.


Simmons is here
Blair is here
Perkins is here

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