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Vulgar Opinions: Sometimes It’s On Us

09/17/13
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via Sabres.com

Anyone who’s read my articles here or followed me on Twitter knows that I don’t have a kind eye for how the Sabres operate as an organization.  Their owner is sketchy, some of their policies are hypocritical, and a lot of their media efforts are lazy or lacking in diversity.  But sometimes the organization does alright and it’s on the fans to appreciate depth and nuance, or at the very least not act like complete morons.

Take the latest BluePrint article from Sabres.com shadowing Mark Pysyk which features the quote:

“I’m not a huge hockey guy outside the rink.”

If you take that without any context like I just did it makes Pysyk look like someone who lacks character.  However the only person pushing that narrative is someone who often criticizes the Sabres for pushing crappy narratives.

Author’s Note:  The above linked person has pointed out this example of ill-worded, link-baity Tweeting.  Link baiting, that is tweeting an ambiguous headline or quote for the purpose of getting a user to click to satisfy their curiosity, is something that new Sabres media guy Craig Kanalley has apparently brought from his former employer The Huffington Post who link-baits with virtually every article they tweet.  Still, while the team did something somewhat dishonest and should be ridiculed for it, they did provide a link allowing fans to get the whole story.  Therefore I stand by my sentiment that much of the onus for handling this well falls on said fans.

The team hasn’t released that quote in a vacuum and neither have any media members as far as I know which makes this worlds different than Chip Alexander’s snafu the other day.

Like with most things, the Sabres probably could have done a better job, but to criticize them is to excuse idiot fans who aren’t going to seek the necessary context, or who are going to use their bias to misinterpret the full quote, which is this:

“I’m not a huge hockey guy outside the rink; I don’t watch too much hockey. At the Combine, they kept asking me (who I modeled my game after),” Pysyk explains. “I said (Brent) Seabrook from Chicago the one day. That night I got on the phone with my buddy who’s a pretty big hockey fan and I asked him ‘who do I play like? I need some help here because I’m sounding like an idiot.’ He said I was maybe more like Duncan Keith. I know that may be high expectations. But he’s just a simple, puck moving defenseman. He may be a little more offensive, but that’s where I see my game going. He’s a great guy to watch, an elite player in the league.”

Oh, okay.  Only a moron would use that as an indictment of Pysyk as a player, or conflate it with something like not spending enough time watching film, or use it in one of the many ways that sports fans like to vilify athletes for making more money than they do.  (And if the Sabres whitewash Pysyk’s comments we’d probably be criticizing them for driving the narrative too much).  Fans aren’t helpless simpletons that need to be spoon-fed every bit of information by their sports teams.  They’re capable of reading things with a grain of salt, of doing the immense amount of research that clicking on and reading an article requires, and manufacturing the narrowest of pedestals to stand on to feed their own biased anger.  They can do better.

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