BOTCHED

Brian Sutherby
October 11 2013 06:48PM

The dressing room is supposed to be a safe place for players. That is said time and again between coaches and players. Things that are said or happen between those walls stay between those walls.

Joe Thornton is making headlines today, for a comment he directed in a humorous way at a scrum of reporters that were interviewing another player. He was not being interviewed himself. He said something sarcastic about scoring four goals in one game and what he would do to celebrate.

““I’d have my c*** out, if I scored four goals. I’d have my c*** out, stroking it.”

 

RESPECT

There is no actual line or set rule between media and players of what is and isn’t on the record. As a player there is just an understanding and trust that if someone asks you for an interview or if you can chat with a microphone in your face, that is when it's on the record.

Generally media members show the respect and know that chatter throughout the locker room amongst teammates and off the cuff jokes at reporters are not considered on the record.

The fact that there is no actual rule unfortunately leaves Joe with no one to blame but himself. He now has to live with the comment and every player in the league is now more aware that there are a few amongst the media they cannot trust.

BOTCHFORD

The man who published those comments about Joe was Jason Botchford, who can be found on TSN discussing STUDS & DUDS each week.

He had this to say on TSN's That's Hockey! show when asked why he published the quote.

 

“Frankly, it was a pretty easy decision for me. It’s nonsense that this is off the record. Joe interrupted, with insolence another scrum to tell a reporter, Farhan Lalji of TSN, to ‘shut up.’ Twenty reporters turned to Joe, he said his joke, and a joke that really made the whole Hertl discussion seem ridiculous. I think it was appropriate to go forward with publishing the quote, for a lot of reasons.
First and foremost, because I work for a publication that asks me to think, write and report with edge, and that’s what I think I did today.” “The problem here for Joe is that he said the comment to about 20 reporters. I looked around, about half of them had cameras. If any of them had reported it, and I had not, I would have been called to the carpet by my boss and asked why I didn’t publish one of the quotes of the year.”

 

Fair enough, in all likelihood he would have been called to the red carpet by his boss, but I only saw one of the 20 reporters actually publish the quotes. They most likely have bosses too and I'd bet every reporter around the league could do this daily if they chose to.

NOT RIGHT

If Joe Thornton was not directly in a media scrum with 20 microphones in his face or in a one on one with someone, then I don’t know why this is something that is being published.

If it was something that Jason Botchford thought was on the record, the polite thing to do would be to ask Joe if that was ‘on the record’ or a useable quote. 

Everyone knows the obvious answer.

TRUST

Ultimately the people that may be affected by this action are other media members trying cozy up and earn the trust of players so that in time they can snag a juicer quote. Over the years I considered many media members my friends and I assume vice versa.

Most hockey players are a difficult quote. The trickle down is potentially less comfort from the players and an even more watered down version of your token cliché from players to the fans.

SHHHH

Now some people will say “well just don’t say anything while the media is there”

What usually happens for players is you come off the ice and many times you are getting undressed and the locker room is filled with media. Media members come in every morning and post game to get their quotes. Some stay to shoot the breeze and as players you develop great trust with these guys and can eventually talk about certain things that maybe aren’t things you want made public. 

It’s not like players can hide, some media stick around for 20 minutes or more. Asking players to not speak across their own dressing room is not the solution.

STUDS & DUDS

Should Joe Thornton have been more careful with what he said? Sure.

Should Jason Botchford have been more thoughtful with what he published? Yes.

If it was up to me, the media wouldn’t be allowed in the actual dressing room anymore. Players would be brought to a specific media room when requested by the media. Eliminate that invisible line for everyone.

For the respectful ones in the media and the fans it would be unfortunate but I could eventually see this happen.

Mr. Botchford, you sir are a DUD.

C76a4c69c9026575581a01d4ac34111c
A Moose Jaw Warriors alumnus and veteran of 460 NHL games with the Capitals, Ducks and Stars—Sutherby is here to regale us with tales of the WJHC, life as an NHL player and much more from a Pro’s perspective. Co-Host's the Jason Gregor show on TSN1260 on Tuesday's from 3-5 and Coaches at www.proconnectionhockey.com Twitter:@briansutherby
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#51 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 12 2013, 09:28AM
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Off topic, but the Jets have lost three straight. Where are all the Winnipeg fans that were here stirring up crap a couple weeks ago?

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#52 vetinari
October 12 2013, 10:00AM
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In the old days, if reporters felt that a quote was newsworthy but they didn't want to disclose the identity of the source, wouldn't they just say "a teammate interrupted the scrum and said, (quote)"?

It got the substance out there without damaging the trust with the players.

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#53 Brent
October 12 2013, 10:11AM
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So has anyone asked Thorton if he wanted his comments published? (I haven't been following what his response has been.) Maybe he doesn't care? Although crude, it is kind of funny, and did shut down the people criticizing Hertle, which is maybe what a captain should do.

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#54 Jumbo
October 12 2013, 10:37AM
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Brent - Joe didn't care, handled it like a class act actually, made botch look like an idiot

Joel k - Exactly he's the reporter equivalent of a troll and this is exactly what he wants

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#55 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
October 11 2013, 07:23PM
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Interesting the media reaction on this. Watching Around the Horn and Sportsnet connected and a few other sports show the consensus among the reporters is that there really is no such thing as of the record in those situations however I have not heard 1 reporter/journalist/hack say that they would ever report on a comment made that way.

Just interesting is all

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#56 Deebs
October 11 2013, 09:40PM
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quinn the eskimo wrote:

I hate that 'Did you ever play the game' crap that some athletes pull on reporters trying to do their jobs. Really? Is that what you have Joe? A verbal face wash for Farhan? Botch got his dander up about the abuse a local colleague was taking in the course of his duty and he lashed out a bit by publishing the quote . Nothing Joe wouldn't do in similar circumstances on the ice. Give Botch an instigator minor and move on.

That's not crap whatsoever, it's a question that i'd like to ask every single hockey reporter who talks like they are all knowing. If someone hasn't played the sport then they won't have the correctly educated opinion or mindset about it

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#57 EugeneV
October 11 2013, 09:45PM
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psa wrote:

Except Thornton interrupted an on-the-record interview and directed his comments at reporters.

From the San Jose Mercury News: "A similar incident occurred 24 hours earlier in San Jose when Thornton was the one being asked about criticism of Hertl's goal and linemate Brent Burns jumped in.

"Four goals! He's a 19-year-old kid," Burns said, adding a cheerful expletive or two. "I'd be naked."

Thornton's comment went in that same direction, only much further and more graphic."

So why is it OK to quote Burns but not Thornton?

Which of course makes Thornotons' remark a continuation of an inside joke.

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#58 SammyD
October 11 2013, 10:49PM
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The NBA has a long tradition of bringing out the coaches and star players to a media room for Q&A. And it's now all on the record. Make as many jokes as you want there. Shaq was the master of using the post-game interview room as his own personal warm-up for his stand up comedy. Media only gets into the locker room when championships are won and the champagne is flowing - anyone recall Jordan crying like a baby holding onto the trophy? And then 20 minutes later there he is in the media room answering questions.

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#59 Unknown Comic
October 11 2013, 11:18PM
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Awwwww, look at the media writing about themselves and injecting each other into yet another fabricated "story".

How else do they artificially inflate their importance and get that attention they so desperately seek.

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#60 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
October 12 2013, 02:04AM
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@quinn the eskimo

Shush now child.

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#61 Cbsicbb
October 12 2013, 10:07AM
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I think this is freaking hilarious! Why do so many people need to make such a big deal over this? The comment was off the cuff and it was funny! This kind of quote shows some personality from the player instead of the media groomed guys like Crosby that can't or won't let anybody know that they are actually humans with a sense of HUMOR. If you didn't find it funny, you didn't laugh. SIMPLE AS THAT. Move on and stop giving the idiot that decided to report it the attention he so obviously craves.

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#62 Joel k
October 12 2013, 10:21AM
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Botch is an idiot, he does not have much of a reputation in Vancouver. He asks stupid questions only to get reactions, he is a hack.

The fact we are talking about him makes him happy. So in a way he wins,

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#63 Rama Lama
October 12 2013, 10:51AM
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Jason Bitchford just screwed himself........I wonder how many hockey players are going to ttrust this loser now.

Imagine Eakins sitting up with the press like he does at each practice..........just how long would he do that if those same reporters were violating that trust by reporting everything he said?

Bitchford is callously promoting himself by hiding behind the pathetic argument that his boss would be pissed if he passed up this story.

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#64 quinn the eskimo
October 11 2013, 09:40PM
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@EugeneV

Andin front of 16,000 people.

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#65 quinn the eskimo
October 11 2013, 09:57PM
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@Deebs

Ha ha! Nice come back. Prop yourself again. It feels good, right? Go ahead. By your reasoning, you're qualified to ask questions of people who take their c*cks out to stroke after scoring 4 goals.

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#66 piscera.infada
October 11 2013, 10:11PM
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I'm not too concerned on whether it should or shouldn't have been publish. In short, who cares?

If anyone is actually getting worked up about what he said (I haven't met a person yet), then they clearly have no idea what goes on in a locker room. When you enter that environment, you know what you're getting yourself into.

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#67 Hammers
October 12 2013, 10:05AM
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What else would you expect from Botchford . Don't think Willes or Jones or Matheson would write that .

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#68 Cale
October 12 2013, 10:44AM
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This is such a non-story it's ridiculous. If the "code" says that things that get yelled at groups of reporters holding recording equipment don't get reported, then the "code" is *obviously* wrong.

Botch did absolutely nothing wrong, and neither did Thornton. The only people who are doing anything wrong are those bitching and whining about unwritten rules and trying to justify how those rules mean people shouldn't be allowed to do their job.

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#69 nunyour
October 12 2013, 10:59AM
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There's lots of reporters that are morons,and lack common sence.

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#70 netzky99
October 12 2013, 11:22AM
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The comments by Jumbo should not have been printed for sure, but his statement is bang on (no pun intended) and pretty funny IMO. The guy was frusrtrated with some questions being asked and did what any good leader does, and sticks up for his team mates. Good on him...

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#71 bwar
October 12 2013, 05:39PM
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Sometimes I like to "score 4" right before I go to bed.

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#72 BJ
October 13 2013, 10:12AM
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And by reprinting the quote you are also contributing to this regardless of your opinion.... media... they just dont get it

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#73 psa
October 11 2013, 07:57PM
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So I guess players let journalists record a lot of off the record comments?

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#74 EugeneV
October 11 2013, 09:38PM
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The Oilers Shot Clock wrote:

Ummm...I don't need to score 4 goals to celebrate like that. My criteria is much less stringent. I celebrate a lot is what I'm trying to say.

Yeah; but it IS better after scoring 4 goals.

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#75 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 11 2013, 11:42PM
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Great quote. Whether it should have been published or not, I'm glad it was. This is PG-13 compared to some stuff I'm sure is said on the ice.

Case in point (not safe for work):

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XaLjjZ3W7ZU

Ref: 'Ryan, go for 10.'

Michael Ryan: 'For what?!'

Ref: 'For f**kin' around.'

Michael Ryan: 'F**K you, you f**kin' c**ksucker!'

Ref: 'GONE.'

Hilarious stuff

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