Toronto Sports Media Barking Up The Wrong Tree

By TSM

With the Toronto Maple Leafs there’s enough material to last a lifetime. I mean, if all of the sudden the late night shows were hurting for material due to the sudden respect of politicians, the Maple Leafs are there to support the comedic writers.

Ownership, management, coaches and yes players all share some of the blame for a mess that reminds many of us of a part of leafs history we’d all rather forget.

It’s disappointing to see the media focus on a guy who has performed, who has, for the most part done his job this season; Phil Kessel.

Jeff Blair has written an otherwise brilliant piece on the current state of the team but for the way he starts the piece with a rip at Kessel for all things being quiet.

“He has no goaltender, his leading scorer is a milquetoast, Tom Thumb guy who shrinks even further in front of the cameras and nobody knows for certain whether his team captain has credibility in the dressing room.”

Burke doesn’t have a goaltender. That’s true
Nobody does know for certain what exactly the role played by the captain on the team. There are so many stores making the rounds about captain Dion and how he treats his teammates.
Kessel? Blair thinks he’s a ” very timid, unassertive, spineless person, especially one who is easily dominated or intimidated” Is that a fair assessment of Phil Kessel?

Of all the problems surrounding the Maple Leafs, if Kessel’s personality makes the top 50, we are doomed.

Look at the Leafs roster, how many guys can you say, you know exactly what you are going to get and you can say that in a positive way? Kessel is exactly as advertised. So, he doesn’t talk to the press. I don’t think that’s his role, and quite frankly I don’t care. Does that make him spineless? I don’t know, maybe Blair knows more than us.

It’s too bad Blair went there on Kessel, because the rest of his article is one of the best state of the Leafs pieces I’ve read in some time.

“The only way that changes is if sometime this off-season, Burke gets rid of one of his many assistant general managers. That will be a sign that the game has changed, that somebody in the new ownership group has the ear of somebody else. Much like a head coach being ordered to get rid of an assistant coach, if Burke is told to divest himself of, say, a David Nonis or two it will be a sign that the suits have awakened; that the guys who actually do up their neckties instead of letting them hang on either side of the collar have awakened and want to take back their team.”

Someone besides Ron Wilson needs to pay for this mess.

The anti- Kessel sentiment seems to be contagous over at the Globe as Dowbiggin was ripping Kessel too:

“simple. He’s not a franchise guy. Hes a role plyr His GM gave up chance to get two franchise guys when he traded for him.”

uh huh.

enough said.

I got to listen to a little bit of the post game Leafs show on TSN radio tonight. Here’s a surprise for you. Mike Hogan was really good. He was on with Jim Tatti talking hockey. I think perhaps TSN has found a way to bring out the best in Mike; don’t let him drive, put him in the second chair and let a guy like Tatti drive. He’s much better answering questions and giving opinions than being solo or asking the questions.

Graham James got sentenced to two years in prison today. I think I am the only one who doesn’t view this as a sports story. With all due respect to those sports talking heads who were called upon to speak about the case, I could really care less about your opinion. This is a criminal case and one where I want to hear the legal experts tell me how this despicable sentence was delivered today.

Don’t get me wrong, having a sports perspective as a filler to provide some color is fine and I can live with that. However those outlets that went all sports on this story and didn’t have a criminal lawyer to talk about the case missed the boat. Again, that could easily be just me.

Back to the Leafs, I just caught this article by Bruce Arthur. It’s equally as good as the Blair piece.

“But there is no passion here, not now; just a hollow team and a zombified crowd. If they could, some Leafs fans would surely take the option of a narrow sort of amnesia. But even then, this would all seem strangely familiar, somehow. Almost as if they had been here before.”

So sad, so true.

TSM

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CoolJ90
March 21, 2012 2:31 am

What an awful article. Obviously the problem with the Leafs is that Kessel isn’t leading the league in scoring. How can you not see that?

Daniel
Daniel
March 21, 2012 2:56 am

I fully admit that I’m just a casual Leafs/hockey fan, and I may be wrong – but it seemed to me that from the time Burke came in, the Leafs should have done a full tear it to the ground rebuild. I mean, why wouldn’t you? It’s not like you have to worry about sparse crowds while you struggle. I think the fans here would probably actually love it.

I hope Burke acknowledges this and starts a full scale rebuild now. You can’t cover this team in new paint. It needs a new foundation.

As for the Arthur article – you know, I prefer Brunt and Blair on the radio, but when it comes to print, I absolutely believe Arthur is the best sports columnist in Canada at this point.

Brad
Brad
March 21, 2012 7:23 am

Totally disagree with you! Jeff Blair nailed it!
Phil Kessel is TOTALLY LOST! Yes, he has scored 36 goals, but Kessel is one of the worst, if not THE WORST cherry-pickers in the NHL.
There is no ONE player in the spotlight here. Everything about Blair’s article was bang-on. EVERYTHING! Even the slight on Kessel.
I will say this: Phil Kessel is NOTHING without LUPUL!! There is your BEST LEAF! LUPUL!! Phil Kessel is just ANOTHER player on the Leafs who shows up when he wants too. Blair is right: Phil Kessel ISN’T a ROLE MODEL in Toronto! Kessel is not assertive! Phil Kessel has given up like the rest of the Leafs. Yes, I know he scored last night. But, ANYONE can score on an open net!

Brad
Brad
March 21, 2012 7:37 am

One more thing: Kessel wears the ‘A’. So yes, he NEEDS TO BE ASSERTIVE. Phil Kessel is NOT THE END-ALL-BE-ALL for the Leafs. Phil Kessel needs to get pissed off! But he doesn’t. He just hides in the background.
You brought up the fact of, “if were bringing Kessel’s personality up”…KESSEL plays like his personality..TIMID, WEAK..SHY..bitches if he gets hit..c’mon…you cannot bash the whole team and exclude ONE PLAYER? Kessel still wears the blue and white and is a Leaf. He does NOT desreve special treatment!

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
March 21, 2012 8:57 am

fired up the RSS feeds this morning and it’s funny to see two very different takes on the Blair piece. PPP refers to it as baseless crap.

http://www.pensionplanpuppets.com/2012/3/21/2889153/leafs-fans-now-chant-fire-terrible-journalists
.

in other news, i think Bob is trolling us: Shannon was on as a guest with Brunt as the co-host. He’s rubbing our faces in it.

Derrick
Derrick
March 21, 2012 9:59 am

Let’s put Blair’s article into context:

He just came back from Dunedin where he was surrounded by a team (Blue Jays) full of hope and promize. They have well spoken leaders with strong personalities (Bautista and Romero), a young, smart, hardworking, up and coming Canadian who looks like a potential superstar (Lawrie), and management which is also well spoken, and looks the part of a professional team (Farrell and AA).

Then Blair goes to a Leaf game where the fans are chanting “Fire Burkie”, the players look deflated, have no personality, and management is aggresive with the media.

Blair’s natural inclination would be to take a negative view point on the team.

I can’t say whether his viewpoint on Kessel is true or not, but Kessel really needs to stand up for himself.

@ Mike (in Boston), I looked up that blog you posted and found the “How are you feeling about Leafs?” graph in the upper right hand corner interesting.

http://www.bluebirdbanter.com/ has a similar graph and it’s interesting comparing the two.

Derrick
Derrick
March 21, 2012 10:10 am

Sorry, upper “left” hand corner, not right hand.

ken
ken
March 21, 2012 12:44 pm

I don’t agree with Brad, TSM you did nail it, the article was good except for the Kessel comments…And Brad no not everyone could have scored that goal it was a goal scorers goal and that is what Kessel is.
Yeah so he’s one dimensional and his defence drives me crazy too but so what he is 3rd in goals and 4th in points and with a decent team around him a great peice of the puzzle.

And by the way I am pretty sure he is NOT an assistant captain, look it up…

Isn’t Arthur becoming the best sports media guy? I put him right up with Brunt in both print and radio…TSN needs to get this guy on the afternoon drive slot way more often (like when the fan has shannon on…get rid of that guy.)

Speaking of TSN. can someone pleeeease tell Richards to stop the Rome impersonations…Rome is bad enough as it is and Richards just makes it worse and quite frankly his impersonations suck.

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
March 21, 2012 1:26 pm

from the globe’s comments section:

“I wonder when Mr. Dowbiggin is going to pen a column about the bigotry shown by his fellow “journalist”, Mr. Arthur over at the NP.

His column about Tim Tebow’s status with the Broncos is a disgusting and not thinly veiled attack on the player’s religious beliefs.”
.

Has anyone read the relevant Arthur article? Is there a basis to the complaint?

Roger
Roger
March 21, 2012 1:52 pm

Arthur constantly attacks Tebow. One can only assume it’s because Tebow is a devout Chritian and Arthur is not. Do you think he would go after a deeply religious player who was black or jewish? I doubt it as Arthur is a PC coward.

Derrick
Derrick
March 21, 2012 2:14 pm

@ Mike (in Boston)

I read the article and it was interesting if only for the amount of thought and effort that went into it.

The article was well written, but I did find it to be more negative towards Tebow than I would have expected from a columnist from a Canadian national newspaper.

Lee (Oakville)
Lee (Oakville)
March 21, 2012 2:20 pm

I’m glad to see that I’m not alone in sensing bigotry in Bruce Arthur’s columns. From his column on Jeremy Lin (the term ‘Asian” or ‘Taiwanese” mentioned at least a dozen times) to the religiously-inspired attacks on Tim Tebow, he has shown himself to be small-minded and self-important. He is very selective about his targets (I don’t see anything about banning Saudi Arabia from the Olympic movement for their female apartheid policies in athletics, for example), but instead always picks on the easy prey. This, to me, is the true definition of cowardice.

Another Steve
Another Steve
March 21, 2012 2:22 pm

Mike (in Boston), earlier in this thread you used the word “troll.”. This word can be applied, of course, to many people who comment in the pages of most newspapers, including the Globe. I think you are quoting just such a troll.

Roger, do you have any evidence of Arthur’s anti-Christian bias? If so, I would like to see it.

While I do think that many people in the sports world look rather strangely at people of strong faith, mostly because sports are so often associated with those playtime vices (drinking, gambling, porn) that conflict with a devout life, I wouldn’t go so far to say that there is an agenda against people of faith. At least, it has always seemed to me that the awkward attitude toward religious people is nothing compared to how racism and homophobia have been expressed.

Another Steve
Another Steve
March 21, 2012 2:25 pm

Lee, “religiously inspired attacks”? Very loaded expression there. Any evidence of these “attacks” and how these attacks are religiously inspired?

Roger
Roger
March 21, 2012 2:35 pm

Another Steve,

This is the article. There are a few others that the coward, Arthur wrote knocking Tebow.

http://sports.nationalpost.com/2012/03/19/sorry-tim-tebow-theres-a-new-saviour-in-denver/

Lee (Oakville)
Lee (Oakville)
March 21, 2012 2:42 pm

Another Steve, Arthur’s consistent usage of religious terminology in the column (i.e. “saviour”, “miracle”, “Judas”, “come down from the mountain”, etc.) in a smarmy, sarcastic tone is evidence enough of his bias. His fixation on Tebow’s religious belief is pretty blunt and the entire basis of the article. Arthur was obviously unwilling or unable to pen an article on the Manning situation without resorting to bigoted language and tone. I am not a religious person, but am offended by his cowardice and simple-minded treatise that is more reminiscent of a 1st-year university paper than a professional journalist.

Roger
Roger
March 21, 2012 2:57 pm

It’s not just Tebow that Arthur rips – he went after Tim Thomas for snubbing the White House and last year Damian Goddard for his benign tweet about same sex marriage.

This is also the same guy who thought the video Brian Burke and his son produced about gays in pro sports was “wonderful”. We get it Brucie “gay good, Christian bad”.

ken
ken
March 21, 2012 3:31 pm

I just read the article from Arthur and to LEE (OAKVILLE) and ROGER.Hey guys when you get back from target practice and change out of the combat fatigues to sit down and relax take another read of that article…are you kidding me!!! it was simlpy pointing out that this guy quiet frankly has no real talent and it is time to move on..

give your head a shake the only bias here is your bias toward Arthur

Roger
Roger
March 21, 2012 3:43 pm

Thanks you Ken. You’re right I have a bias towards effeminate, cowardly sportswriters.

I’ll refrain from the personal attacks that you employ because I get the feeling you may start to cry if I do.

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
March 21, 2012 3:45 pm

Another Steve — you’re right that this commenter was probably just trying to stir the pot, but it seems like others at the globe (and here as well) agree with the accusation. I rarely read Arthur so I can’t comment one way or the other, but I am surprised to hear this criticism since he’s such a listener favourite here.

ken
ken
March 21, 2012 4:14 pm

Hello Roger… you lose all credibility trying to take the “higher ground” with the comment about personal attacks when you write stuff like “gay good,Christian bad” you sir are a bigot. and I only weep for you and your narrow minded thinking.

And by the way trying to use fancy words like effeminate show 3 things.

You truly are homophobic, you are pompous and you attempt to hide shortcomings with false intelligence.

I don’t view this as a personal attack…no it is just trying to expose bigotry!!!

Roger
Roger
March 21, 2012 4:22 pm

Ken,

Thank you for your useful feedback. That’s right, keep up the personal attacks – that’s all you have sitting behind a keyboard in your mum’s basement.

I’m sorry, you don’t like opinions that are different from yours. In future try to show tolerance towards dissenting opinions.

It’s just a matter of time before your start swearing at me. Right?

Derrick
Derrick
March 21, 2012 4:34 pm

Why should we care about the opinion a Canadian reporter (I know he is based in Toronto, but the National Post is a national newspaper) has about a quarterback in Denver (now New York) in the NFL in the OFF SEASON?

I would like to know why Arthur is even writing this opinion piece. Isn’t there more interesting and/or relevant Canadian sports topics for him to write about?

alex
alex
March 21, 2012 5:04 pm

Who knew there were many trolls here?

Drum&Anchor
Drum&Anchor
March 21, 2012 5:16 pm

I, for one, am more than happy to make fun of the “John 316” crowd any day of the week.

One can have faith, but religious fundamentalism is bad. Period.

Ami Angelwings
March 21, 2012 6:47 pm

Arthur didn’t rip Tebow or Christianity, in fact I thought Arthur was being really really diplomatic. Criticizing a Christian player for his play on the field isn’t the same as attacking a religion.

I think because we all know that Arthur leans left, some people start intuiting or reading into what he says and believing he is saying something sinister, when he’s not.

I find it sort of problematic that Tebow seems to be above criticism for some people :\ And that you can’t point out the obvious, that there’s a large group of people who want him to be more than he is because he represents Christian, conservative values to them. When Arthur notes Tebow’s deficiencies, he gets accused of being anti-Christian and dismissed as a liberal, when Bomani Jones does it, he gets accused of hating white people and reverse racism, but both of them are just pointing out what’s true… that Tebow isn’t a very good quarterback, and his religion is the reason a lot of people need to believe he’s better than he is. It’s sort of like how Bomani Jones’ strong views about race, and Arthur’s known left-leaning beliefs are the reasons a lot of people need to believe that they hate Tim Tebow, Christianity and white people instead of merely criticizing a football player.

Ami Angelwings
March 21, 2012 6:52 pm

“Another Steve, Arthur’s consistent usage of religious terminology in the column (i.e. “saviour”, “miracle”, “Judas”, “come down from the mountain”, etc.) in a smarmy, sarcastic tone is evidence enough of his bias. His fixation on Tebow’s religious belief is pretty blunt and the entire basis of the article”

The press has been doing that with Tebow since Tebowmania began, whether in the positive or the negative. I don’t even think Arthur was being negative, that he was just making a joke. Did Scott Feschuk’s piece about Tebow in the Sportsnet magazine offend you too? Can the media only mention Christianity if it’s in glowing terms?

And Tebow and the religious fervour following him IS a part of the story. It’s a huge part of the story because it’s the reason why he has this huge fan following, and why people want him to win, and why his deficiencies keep being downplayed. Tebow himself makes his religion an issue, so this is hardly Arthur making this up out of nowhere. xD

Ami Angelwings
March 21, 2012 6:53 pm

What makes Arthur a coward anyways? What has he done that’s cowardly? Is writing about his opinions in a public forum where he can be criticized considered cowardly now?

Lee (Oakville)
March 21, 2012 6:56 pm

Ami, with due respect, Arthur’s piece was totally centered on Tebow’s political beliefs. How else do you explain the religious references throughout the piece? If it was truly only about football ithe column would not have gone to that imagery. I will state this again – my opinion has nothing to do with supporting fundamentalist religion, which I abhor, but simply to expose to the hypocrisy and narrow-mindedness of the author. Can anyone believe he would have written a similar article on a devout Muslim or Orthodox Jew. To think he would is the height of naïveté.

Ami Angelwings
March 21, 2012 6:58 pm

“Derrick
March 21, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Why should we care about the opinion a Canadian reporter (I know he is based in Toronto, but the National Post is a national newspaper) has about a quarterback in Denver (now New York) in the NFL in the OFF SEASON?

I would like to know why Arthur is even writing this opinion piece. Isn’t there more interesting and/or relevant Canadian sports topics for him to write about?”

So you think Toronto sports reporters should only write about Toronto sports news? Isn’t that what people usually complain about? xD That we’re just the centre of the universe, or that Canadian sports media only writes about hockey and doesn’t care about anything else? Do you want to see TSN, Sportsnet and the Score stop all coverage of non-Canadian events now?

Let’s stop blowing this out of proportion. Arthur wrote a piece criticizing a player you like. He didn’t declare war on Christianity, or America, or American football. It’s one thing to criticize what he wrote, but now we’re into “Canadians shouldn’t even be commenting about non-Canadian sports!”?

Ami Angelwings
March 21, 2012 7:01 pm

“Can anyone believe he would have written a similar article on a devout Muslim or Orthodox Jew. To think he would is the height of naïveté.”

Muhammad Ali.

People comment about religion when it’s part of the story and when the athlete themselves make it part of the story and involve themselves in politics (as Tebow had with the Focus on the Family ad). The religious fervour around his support is ENTIRELY part of the story, and part of the reason he IS a story (it’s not because of his play). Muhammad Ali’s religion and political beliefs was a huge part of the story too and people talked about it and still DO talk about it.

Lee (Oakville)
March 21, 2012 7:01 pm

Bruce Arthur’s cowardice comes from selectively attacking individuals that he knows will not be supported. As I previously wrote, what about commenting on real issues in the world like female apartheid? The answer is that it doesn’t fit within his narrow ideological scope. To avoid these issues is, in my mind, true cowardice.

Ami Angelwings
March 21, 2012 7:03 pm

Tebow isn’t supported? XD Christianity is a tiny persecuted religious minority is it? xD

Lee (Oakville)
March 21, 2012 7:03 pm

Muhammad Ali is not a logical comparison, because do you really think Arthur would have mocked Ali’s religious beliefs like he did Tebow’s? Hardly.

Ami Angelwings
March 21, 2012 7:04 pm

And TorontoSportsMedia is talking about Jeff Blair’s criticisms of Phil Kessel instead of writing about the more important issue of child starvation in impoverished countries.

Ami Angelwings
March 21, 2012 7:05 pm

Other people have mocked or criticized Ali’s religious beliefs. You were talking about the general, now you’ve moved the goalposts to the specific XD Which is it? Are you upset because you think NO OTHER religions are criticized in the media (I’d like to introduce you to Michael Coren in that case, also I have a bridge to sell you) or are you upset because Arthur doesn’t criticize the things you think he should?

Ami Angelwings
March 21, 2012 7:08 pm

I still have no idea how Arthur is cowardly. Criticizing Tim Tebow, which is bound to get him massive backlash (and check the comments, it HAS) is cowardly? Cowardly would be if he didn’t criticize Tim Tebow because he was scared of the backlash and that he’d be accused of liberal-bias and being anti-Christian. >_>

Ami Angelwings
March 21, 2012 7:13 pm

Okay, I misread that, you said “he”, so yes, he probably would not be criticizing a view if he supports it, but I do believe he would be writing about the story of a Muslim player who made his faith and politics that much of an issue, like Muhammad Ali.

I apologize for saying you were talking in the general. 🙂

Lee (Oakville)
March 21, 2012 7:13 pm

No goalposts moved. I view Arthur as being more indoctrinated than educated, and his writing reflects this weakness. I view his writing as myopic and self-important and having the fingerprints of a narrow ideology.

The reference to Michael Coren is disingenuous and irrelevant.

Ami Angelwings
March 21, 2012 7:15 pm

My questions to Bruce Arthur in the TSM Q&A thingie are even MORE relevant now! xD

Ami Angelwings
March 21, 2012 7:20 pm

Okay, onto the topic I came to this thread to comment on xD

I actually think it’s problematic to assume we know what Kessel’s personality is, or that he doesn’t try, or care, or that he doesn’t inspire his teammates simply because he appears to be introverted in certain situations. Because he’s introverted around the media doesn’t mean that he has no personality, or a weak personality or anything else.

Bob has admitted to social anxiety too, and that he has problems public speaking. He’s okay with television and radio, but he’s not okay in other situations, and if you met him in those situations, you might think of him as a shy guy with few opinions too. But because we know him in the environment he’s comfortable in, we view him completely differently. I don’t think we should assume we know what type of person Kessel is because he’s shy around cameras, or that he isn’t somebody his teammates respect, like and will follow into “battle”.

Just like, you know me as somebody completely different here, than I am in real life where some people might dismiss me entirely, but it doesn’t mean I have no opinions or I don’t care about things, it’s situational.

Roger
Roger
March 21, 2012 8:03 pm

Ami,

My last point on this tired topic. Arthur is cowardly because he ONLY attacks a devoutly Christian. You bet you life he wouldn’t criticize a muslim or jewish athlete.

The reasons are obvious.

Derrick
Derrick
March 21, 2012 10:03 pm

Ami,

I was careful to point out that Bruce Arthur is a National writer, not a Toronto writer, it just so happens that he is based in Toronto.

And I do not like or dislike Tim Tebow. I don’t ever commenting my opinion on him.

Bruce Arthur can write about whatever he wants, but when he chooses to write an article about Tim Tebow which has a negative or critical slant towards the NLF player, in March, in a Canadian national newspaper, it indicates to me that he does have some grudge against him.

I mean, the guy essentially just got fired. Why do you have kick him when he’s down?

Ami Angelwings
March 22, 2012 7:12 am

I think that if there was an athlete that 43% of Americans believed Allah was helping win games and that had massive support that covered up his poor play and whose large fanbase was supporting him despite that play because of his Muslim political and religious beliefs, Arthur would probably be talking about how he’s not that good a player too. But I could be wrong since it hasn’t happened. xD

Which Jewish or Muslim player do you believe fits this criteria and that Arthur isn’t criticizing but should?

guy
guy
March 22, 2012 1:52 pm

sooo, Tim Tebow’s christian?

Il Duce
Il Duce
March 23, 2012 2:27 pm

How about them Leafs?

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