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Toronto Sports. Oh, The Irony!


As a proud graduate of eighth-grade English, I am in constant need of flaunting my considerable understanding for the actual meaning of the word "Irony". The word has three meanings - we're going to examine one.

Irony: The difference between what is said and what is meant.

A lot of articles that I've been reading in Toronto sports media seem like they're really struggling to say what they actually mean. Most likely due to the fact that we live in a world where political correctness is spinning out of control at roughly the same pace as Courtney Love in Vegas.

(By the way, Happy "Holiday Time" everyone!)

Lets examine...

Chris Zelkovich wrote his traditional Monday Morning Review of the sporting events televised over the weekend. Mr. Zelkovich writes a good piece and I usually agree with what he says, a considerable achievement considering we're probably at least 25 years apart in age. At the tail end of his article he takes a shot at Don Cherry's inability to pronounce the name of Alexei Ponikarovsky. Here's what he meant to say:

It is completely astounding to me that the most colorful, celebrated and recognizable figure in Canadian television is a man with deep-seeded biases against European ethnicities that he - obviously - knows nothing about. Mr. Cherry's inability, or lack of commitment to research his pronunciations alludes to a larger problem: He is an unprofessional hack who relies on misguided and unproven stereotypes to create the bulk of his senseless rhetoric.

(Phew.)

Over the weekend I emailed the head of media relations for the Toronto Raptors to inquire about media access for some upcoming games. Within thirty-minutes (which was remarkable because it was a Saturday night) he emailed me back and said that the league office did not recognize a blog as an "acceptable" form of media. I thanked him and that was that. Here's what he meant to say:

Hi Steve,
Thank you for your request. Unfortunately, I will not be able to accommodate you at this time. Because of the relaxed editorial infrastructure of blogTO.com the NBA league office is completely freaked out that you will ask the following questions:

"Jalen, based on your current production and salary ($15.7 million) are you statistically the most overpaid player in the history of the NBA?"

"Mr. Babcock, essentially, you traded Vince Carter to New Jersey for the opportunity to pay Alonzo Mourning $10 million to play in Miami. Wouldn't it have made more sense to just sit Vince on the bench and periodically have female fans and children fight him during halftime?"

"Mr. Peddie, if Maple Leafs' season ticket holders weren't FORCED to also purchase Raptors season seats, would anyone other than Nav Bhatia attend the games?"

"Coach Mitchell, can you think of a player that has noticeably raised his game since the NBA stiffened their drug testing in the new collective bargaining agreement?"

Thank you for your inquiry.

Quick note - I also emailed the Leafs, and as yet, they have not responded. Wow! If you can't trust the Toronto Maple Leafs to take care of the little guy, what's left?

To me, this is a curious direction for our society to move in. Over-analyzing and oppressive policing of our basic freedom of speech has been on a steady incline since Janet Jackson shot innocent children during the Super Bowl two years ago. (Actually she just slipped a nipple, but I couldn't tell the difference based on the reaction.)

How does this relate to irony and sports? In today's sports media there are things that you just can not mention for fear that you will be ostracized from the inner fraternity of writers and players.

Sorry, but that is not professional journalism. It's a cleverly disguised boys club.

The most unfortunate thing about this predicament is that it is always the best writers that eventually step outside the lines and cleverly examine the obvious. Then, when they're kicked to curb, they end up bitter, disgruntled and incapable of writing anything positive.

That modus operandi is not why they decided to write about sports in the first place. More importantly, it is not how we should be ascertaining our information.

SA


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