Hot girls with credentials lead to trouble in Toronto
by Mike Salk
Such a weird story coming out of Toronto that I figured I’d give you the details of it tonight before we discuss in the morning.
In order to get the whole story here, you need to watch a pair of videos and read a quick article. But I promise, none of it will be painful.
It starts with Blue Jays CF Vernon Wells making a few jokes about his teammate Aaron Hill. While giving an interview that seems to only appear on youtube, Wells deadpanned that Hill would be the most likely teammate to sue him “because he is a racist.” You can see the whole interview here, but start paying particular attention at about the one minute mark.
In my mind, this is a non-issue. Clearly, Wells is joking (although he does a great deadpan). And I have no problem with it.
But not surprisingly, someone did. I think. At least, Wells and Hill were eventually forced to explain the joke in the Toronto Globe and Mail. Not quite an apology, but would it surprise you if that came next?
So, why did this happen? Well, to start with, it seems like the Blue Jays credentialed an odd pair for spring training. This next video should give you a better idea as to who was conducting this interview. Priceless comedy…
Wow. “Baltimore Orelands” might be line of the year! But I digress. My first question is why did the Jays credential these two? It seems like controversy was destined to follow them.
But I don’t want to pass judgement in retrospect. I just think it points out some of the challenges professional sports franchises are dealing with in this new media age. I have often criticized MLB (and other leagues) for catering to the print media first – often at the expense of “newer” forms like radio, TV and the internet. But should these two “reporters” have access? You have to draw a line somewhere, and the conventional wisdom is that the traditional media is the easiest to trust with the privilege of access. When you see this video, it’s hard to argue…
But let’s point out another issue here too. We all want to know more about our favorite players. We want the inside scoop on how our favorite teams behave behind the locker room door. We want our athletes to be interesting and entertaining. And we get sick of the dreaded cliches! How many times can we hear, “I’m just trying to help the ballclub” or “I’m taking it one day at a time.”
But when an interesting, engaging, funny athlete like Vernon Wells cracks wise on camera, he finds himself having to explain himself…and in many cases apologizing for his remarks. What incentive is there for him to be honest? Why would he want to do anything other than speak in cliches when there is a decent chance he’ll be criticized?
No easy answers here, but we’ll be discussing it on the show tomorrow. Feel free to weigh in here, email the show at [email protected] or call us 866-979-ESPN.
Talk to you at 11:00!