Why Do Canadians Hate Gary Bettman?

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



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