MOTOR CITY MADNESS: MR. T RUBS ‘EM THE WRONG WAY

It’s obvious Rob Tychkowski got under the skin of the fine residents of Detroit leading up to the Edmonton Oilers 6-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena Thursday.

Tychkowski, who seldom passes up a good quip when he writes for the Edmonton Sun, not only pissed off fans of the Red Wings, but drew the ire of former Detroit player Mickey Redmond, now working the broadcast booth, and ended up on at least one local TV station explaining why he had slagged the good name of the Motor City.

The offending passages:

"Welcome to Detroit, where the forecast, as always, is muggy with a chance of murder," Tychkowski wrote, followed by, "They use more white chalk at crime scenes than they ever did in the schools."

Well, they snapped. They lost it. Redmond waded into the fray in both print and on TV, even confronting and apparently lambasting the often-acerbic Mr. T in the press box at The Joe.

Channel 7 in Detroit send a reporter and camera down to The Joe and ran the following report here.

They were not amused.

INDIGNANT

"I’m a Canadian-American. I hold dual citizenship, and as a Canadian I’m embarrassed at what you wrote in that paper," Redmond told Tychkowski, according to a Fox 2 report.

"It’s completely unnecessary, uncalled for, unrelated to the game of hockey. If it was an attempt to be humorous, it was a lousy attempt at that. It was not necessary. You’re beating up on a city that obviously doesn’t need it."

The public scolding and news story has already bounced around on Twitter. Even Larry Brooks, a long-time scribe in New York, jumped on Mr. T and The Sun for running the derogatory remarks.

Without kicking Detroiters in the civic pride, I’ve got to say, having been to their city 15 or 20 times during my years on the beat, there’s certainly enough historical data to back up Tychkowski’s characterization, even if there’s been a fair amount of urban renewal downtown in recent years.

There’s still places downtown I wouldn’t go unless, ahem, somebody put a gun to my head. Scary place, if you ask me. Raffi Torres and I even got ripped off by an unscrupulous cabbie there during the 2006 playoffs, but that’s a story for another day.

Anyway, even though the Red Wings killed the Oilers Thursday, Mr. T and the team made it safely to New Jersey, where they lost 4-3 tonight, with some offended Motor City citizens, I’m sure, still screaming bloody murder.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • Interesting juxtaposition on the home page of Channel 7 in Detroit, which is linked in the item I just wrote.

    Just below the headline “Canadian sports writer trashes Detroit,” are the headlines “Man murdered, daughter in custody” and “Gunfire erupts outside Detroit funeral.”

  • a lg dubl dubl

    In defense of Rob T, Detroit gets abused like this from media members in other US cities on a daily basis with little to no reaction. However the comment about chalk is in poor taste as we know it will be viewed as a shot at public schooling in the D even though that wasn’t and hopefully was not the message……………..Candaian Sports Fan has opinion.

    I’ve yet to hear of a Stanley Cup Champion that has won because of depth at the winger position. This is no secret but the reason the Oil suck is we have the worst group of 6 d-men in the league and in comparison we’re bottom 5 in the league at the center postion. Sorry to disapoint everyone but it’s going to be atleast 5 years before were relevant.

      • Spartacus

        I’m guessing you don’t read newspapers. As Brett Sutter is up on charges for punching a cab driver yesterday… maybe the day before, this pun is pretty relevant and even somewhat clever.

        I think Edmonton’s media should be as militant as Detroit’s and take up arms anytime someone has the nerve to insinuate that Edmonton has a hard time attracting free agents because it’s cold and kinda boring in the winter. That’ll help. Yup.

    • With the team hotel way out in the suburbs from Joe Louis Arena (we usually stayed downtown but not in the 2006 playoffs), we made the mistake of taking a ride from the rink to the hotel with an “independant cab” during the first round.

      It was supposed to be a flat rate, like an airport taxi here, of $25 or $30, down the highway. The cabbie was a real piece of work, a big, nasty looking guy with a cigarette sticking out of his face. The cab was filthy.

      I was in front and Raffi and somebody else (I forget who) was in the back. The driver kept looking into the rearview mirror at Raffi, sort of eyeballing him. When it came up Raffi was with the Oilers (the guy asked if he was a “player”), the response was, and I’m not kidding, along the lines of, “So, you make a lot of money, eh man? You’re a big deal.” After that, this dude started punching buttons on the meter. I’m watching this thing spin up like crazy — tick, tick, tick, tick — in a blur. The guy is glaring at me the whole time.

      Anyway, we get to the hotel and the guy tells us we owe him something like $130. When we asked, “What happened to the flat rate?”we got instant hostility, and I’m talking big-time.

      “It’s 130 MF—ing bucks, man. I want my money. You guys gonna be a MF—ing problem?” That kind of thing. Then, the guy starts making motions like he’s reaching under his seat for something. Given my aversion to being shot in the face or stabbed in the neck, I glance back at Torres and nod — one of those “Let’s get the f— out of here” nods — and Raffi picks up on it. Torres tossed the guy a wad of bills to cover the fare. We got out and headed the other way without looking back.

      The guys laughed their asses off when they found out how much the cabbie took us off for.

      • Spartacus

        Taking an independent cab in Detroit is pretty ballsy.

        It can always be worse, though. If that was Mexico City, you would likely have been held for ransom or never heard from again.

        Cue the mob of journalista’s.

  • I think this is just karma coming full circle for the time that Doug Benson (one of my favorite comedians) made a joke about the Canadian Military, and it just happened to be hours after some of our boys got smoked in Afghanistan. Not only did the Comic Strip cancel his two shows that were supposed to take place in Edmonton later that week but if I remember correctly Stephen Harper got on the blower and demanded an apology.

    Over a joke.

    About the Canadian military.

    This is the type of stuff we’re going to take time out of our day to complain about? Really?

    • Benson is one of the best, but even I feel like he got what he deserved. Not being asked for an apology by our PM, that was stupid, but having his shows cancelled (even though I was going to go see him) pretty much fit the bill. If you’re going to be an idiot and be disrespectful to people doing crazy hard jobs, you deserve to be cancelled.

      As for Tych, the Murderville Detroit thing is pretty hack, but I guess pretty hack is pretty good for the Sun.

      • But that was the thing. My memory is a little rusty (I am a Benson fan) but it was like hours after it happened, he hadn’t caught wind of it yet, and he was making a basic, all encompassing joke like “Canada still has a military?” something like that.

        If he had made reference to those actual guys dying, or soldiers dying in general, then sure, I can see the merit. But it was just really unfortunate timing, and a bit of an overreaction by the Comic Strip. But what can you do. Invite Andy Dick back?

  • It was a humorous( albeit dark) joke that has been blown way out of proportion. There are countless comedians, mostly American, and some who are even very popular, who have made similar jokes about Detroit. Why a sports reporter from Edmonton is getting any attention for such a joke is beyond me.

    On a side note, I’m quite interested to hear your story about you and Torres get ripped off by a cabbie.

  • So in Edmonton you get a little frost bite once in a while and in Detroit, you get a little dead once in a while, what’s the big deal? Every town has their drawbacks.( tongue and cheek set to on)

    “I’m a Canadian-American. I hold dual citizenship, and as a Canadian I’m embarrassed at what you wrote in that paper,” Redmond told Tychkowski, according to a Fox 2 report. ”

    Not sure how this is relevant. Don’t apologize for your “countrymen” Mickey, there are idiots in every lot, relax.

    • I’m with those of you thinking, “What’s the big deal?” That’s why I wrote the item.

      If this was just a matter of some Detroit fans on a website ripping Tychkowski, that’s one thing. That’s what fans do. I got a big reaction from Detroit fans years ago for writing that Joe Louis Arena is a dump, which it is. It’s a pig pen. Those looking for their civic citations went nuts. That was limited to a site like this one.

      But a Fox 2 TV report? A camera guy and reporter dispatched to interview Tychkowski? And how about the tone — an angry librarian comes to mind — of the reporter doing the story? Is she running for office sometime soon? Redmond? Gimme a break.

      Way over the top.

  • Gerald R. Ford

    Meh. To each their own. I don’t see the point of ugly jokes like that. Everyone knows they have problems, and I doubt they’re proud of them. We’re a pretty pampered, privileged society in this country, with one-tenth the population down south, and a lot less competition for resources. Not to mention, we’re sitting on a reserve of one trillion barrels of black gold. That eliminates a lot of Detroit-like problems that we don’t have to think about. For now. I think we should be thankful for what we have without tossing any smug grenades.

    Blown out of proportion? Inevitably. Necessary in the first place? No.

  • ubermiguel

    Detroit is getting a little thin-skinned aren’t they?

    Look, Edmonton and Alberta get slagged every other day in the media. The city and the province are aware of their shortcomings and a lot of time is spent trying to overcome the perception by business and political interests.

    Some people and media have a problem with how they’re perceived in Detroit? Here’s a news flash for you, Detroit…your city will be perceived the same way until you prove otherwise!!

    Welcome to our world, Detroit….and quite your f-ing crying while you’re at it.

  • Oilers4ever

    Gimme a break.. tell the people of Detroit and their media morons to suck it up… With all the crap the Oilers and Edmonton have taken with names such as Deadmonton and players not wanting to come here, etc, etc… Are you kidding me? The fact that they are one of the largest per capita crime cities in the states.. it’s not like Mr. T there was lying…

    Detroit and their media can suck it up or go crying to your mommies… If you can’t handle the heat….

  • Oilers4ever

    Gimme a break.. tell the people of Detroit and their media morons to suck it up… With all the crap the Oilers and Edmonton have taken with names such as Deadmonton and players not wanting to come here, etc, etc… Are you kidding me? The fact that they are one of the largest per capita crime cities in the states.. it’s not like Mr. T there was lying…

    Detroit and their media can suck it up or go crying to your mommies… If you can’t handle the heat….