Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Philosophical Musings from Sam Mitchell

REUTERS/Marc Serota

Caught this story on AOL Fanhouse where Toronto Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell had some comments regarding violence in hockey:

It's part of hockey. That's their culture. If hockey players go in the stands, it's hockey. Right? Seriously. Basketball players go in the stands? Ohhhhh, the sport is out of control.

Hockey players fight up in the stands! Basketball has one incident and all of a sudden... oooooohhhhhhh. It was a major thing. How long in history have hockey players been going up in the stands? Since time began. Why don't you all write about it like you when it happened one time at a basketball game? One time. I have my theories why, but I'm not going to comment.

I can understand Mitchell's frustration. He's the head coach in a city where it's All Leafs, All the Time and even with a winning team, the Raptors have a hard time drawing the same type of crowd the Leafs are able to draw despite being mediocre to down right awful most of the time. Plus, he works for MLSE so is probably privy to whatever clusterf*ck is going on in that organization half the time.

But like Fanhouser Greg Wyshynski pointed out in the comments, having violence and donnybrooks as part of your culture is hardly a flattering image to be saddled with. It makes hockey seem one dimensional and it's bad enough that the American outlets feel that the NHL is only newsworthy whenever these sideshows happen, even though they account for only a small portion of the game.

Like I pointed out in the comment thread, Mitchell is also inaccurate in suggesting people just shrug at hockey players going into the stands. There are boards and glass protecting the audience from the ice for crying out loud, so getting up there is pretty much a chore in itself and it has never and will never be seen as acceptable. The fact that the audience is protected from the on-ice shenanigans is why fighting in hockey is more acceptable and in basketball it isn't because there's no barrier between the hardwood and the audience. The debate can go on forever, but it also needs to be pointed out that there's a difference between two players with pounds of gear that resembles armour exchanging a few punches than two guys in shiny shorts exchanging punches.

Jiri T-Lusty
Deadspin caught onto this story a number of days actually and since nothing much came of it, I figured it would just blow however. However, living in the fishbowl and being privy to Leafs Media, the story of Jiri's Cameraphone was pretty hard to avoid. I'll just say this, even yours truly did a few stupid things when she was 18-years-old and quite possibly had too much to drink. I will say that it is always ill-advised to be snap happy in compromising positions when you're 'famous' because they will inevitably end up on the Internet but everybody just needs to calm down and relax. I'd find the fact that Bryan McCabe just gave another game away last night on a silver platter as a more troubling issue.

Cross Posted to Scarlett Ice


Dare said...

The Tlusty thing drives me nuts (I was actually ranting about it earlier today...let's see if I can summarize within a comment).

I expect very little from the Toronto Scum, but seeing Tlusty's picture on the cover this morning truly boggled my mind. I can't think of too many 18 year olds that don't have a ridiculous picture like that floating around somewhere.

Damien Cox's response to the situation? About how Tlusty is pretty much a disgrace to the hallowed history of the Toronto Maple Leafs and he now deserves to forever toil in the minors? Are we talking about the same Maple Leafs? The ones with a convicted felon still needing to serve his sentence now back from suspension? Oh wait, I think we are!

Tlusty did some stupid things (having the Scum picture in his Facebook, where he has 1078 friends, thus leading me to believe he adds everyone who asks is certainly one), but again, young kid. And in terms of Zack Taylor (the dude from the website who published the pictures) "teaching Tlusty a lesson"...dude, he's not Crosby or Patrick Kane, or any number of NHL superstars who have the benefit of extensive media/celebrity training (such as what Crosby went through with IMG) or the continuing support of billeting with families of individuals heavily involved in the sport. The fact that no one was there to even tell him that having an interview with Zack Taylor wasn't a very good idea, to me, really evidences how much Tlusty is left to his own devices.

And then we have the gay subtext. Dude, he sent pictures of his penis to girls. Evidently he must be gay. Hockey is one of many highly weird homosocial environments ("where's the soap", anyone), and we're keying in on naked photos sent to girls? I dunno, I guess he should just pluck a puck bunny from the stands and get 'er done out least then he'd been subscribing to a hypermasculine norm.

And Taylor's going to be on ET Canada, I think tonight. That this passes for "serious news"...yeah. Wow.

Blitzen said...

Tough enough to be a kid now-a-days (yup - I'm one of the old ones). I am sooo thankful that the halicion days of my youthful indiscretions did not include any of the electronics available to folks today. All witnesses would be discredited due to their own energetic enjoyment of the 70s.

In the meantime, let's just get over this and let the kid keep on growing up.

Shan said...

How many occurrences of hockey players going into the stands have there been?? I can only seem to recall Tie Domi getting into a kerfuffle with someone who intentionally spilt his drink on him.

k.le said...

hah, I was hoping someone would cover the Tlusty thing, since I've been incredibly busy lately...
and sad, for there is not much good I can say about the Leafs at present time.

for what it's worth, I find the whole thing kind of funny, although I do feel quite badly for him. Poor kid. One slip-up and your naked picture will never be entirely purged from the internet.

I think I should friend him... as a show of support, of course. haha...

Lucky13 said...

I hope Sean Avery doesn't get wind of this story...

Kerriberry7228 said...

What's his theory? 'Cuz it's a "white" sport?

I seem to remember hockey getting a LOT of bad media from the "Hollweg-Simon" incident and a couple knockouts during fights at the end of last year. Violence in hockey has not been ignored. In fact, it's the only time it gets any American media attention.

As for Tlusty...dumb move, kid. But it's pathetic that is this major news. I feel bad for him.

He's on facebook? I'm soooo going to facebook him right now.

Kirsten said...

Teenaged boys everywhere should feel bad for him and hope their shit doesn't get posted all over the internet.
Fact of life: Teenaged boys get drunk and do stupid shit.
Fact of life #2: boys do stupid shit, actually, so do girls, they just don't seem to document it quite so frequently.

Tracy said...

Cheers to the world that the Tlusty thing is the single *most* important thing on anyone's mind right now. So he has naked pictures on the internet... Big effin deal. If you ever take a naked picture of yourself, somehow/somewhere it will find its way to the internet... whether you're 'famous' or not.

I, personally, think he should pull a Pete Wentz (which is who they're comparing him to anyway) and laugh it off. So millions of people saw what he is (or isn't) working with... so what?? Move on people, most of us have seen one before, it's not earth shattering news that he has one.

As far as Sam Mitchell goes - remind him to not get his knickers in a bunch. Sooner or later Satan will have all the players skating around in bubbles so that there can be no possible show of violence in the sport. Then the focus will be back on what douche bags basketball players are.

(For the record, I don't mean to sound more like a bitch than usual. I'm behind in my nano and it's driving me nuts.)