Tuesday, August 17, 2010

When hockey players get all a-Twitter

One thing I've learned since I started watching hockey a couple of years ago is that there are different kinds of celebrities. The kind that I had been used to reading about, the TV actors, movie stars, and singers, are a different breed of celebrity than these athlete types. (It's kind of like high school cliques, with lots more money, I guess.)

If an actor does something wrong, he or she sees the consequences right away, regardless of how quickly their publicist steps in. (If the publicist quits, then that's a whole other story.) Take Mel Gibson, for example. Things went downhill very quickly after his drunken anti-Semitic rant, and now that he's been caught on tape insulting basically everyone along with the girlfriend he left his wife for, I don't expect to see him in a successful movie anytime soon. When actors make less colossal mistakes, they usually rely on their well-paid entourage to help concoct an appropriate apology. (Like the Kristen Stewart controversy that ended almost as quickly as it began.)

The sports world is a little bit different. Usually athletes aren't groomed quite as well for the public eye as actors are. On the flip side, the consequences aren't always the same. Sean Avery, best described as his generation's greatest douchebag, continues to play in the NHL despite being his generation's greatest douchebag. (Not even a suspension could stop him, but I guess the New York Rangers know what they want.) Athletes don't always see the error of their ways or have to back up their incorrect actions.

Earlier this summer, Paul Bissonnette deleted his Twitter account after getting some heat about the inappropriate content of his tweets. Personally, I didn't necessarily enjoy jokes about strippers and whatnot, but there are a lot of guys out there who act like that in the locker room, and I guess BizNasty decided to live up to his screenname and not be a hypocrite about the kind of guy he is. He wasn't outwardly trying to offend anyone, but I'm sure he knew there would be someone out there who wasn't as entertained by his tweets as he was.

Dan Ellis, on the other hand, is another story. I started following him after he was traded to the Habs, hoping to get to know a little more about the potential new goalie. I learned about his son learning to poop in a toilet. I read an awful lot about his (tacky) custom car. I read his opinions on how the Canadian media are "crazy", something he learned especially after he "was a Hab for two days". Yes, he made a passive-aggressive comment about a jersey he's never even worn. Maybe Ellis could call up Jay Leach or Doug Janik to find out what it's really like to be a Hab.

Perhaps Ellis realized that he could get attention from the crazy Canadian media by typing up some tweets that would really get us all riled up. First, he retweeted a few things from football player and Kardashian-dater Reggie Bush, without realizing that football is literally and figuratively an entirely different game). Then he followed up these comments with a few sentences about how he deserves to be as rich as he is because he's good at what he does, he trains hard, and NHL players are not "not a dime a dozen unlike many other professions."

Now, the millions of things that are wrong with his statements are probably best left to another blog post (by me, who often tries to defend some of our overpaid athletes). But it's Ellis' follow-up to these comments that really disgusts me.

Yes, that's right. He didn't apologize. He just read every single outraged response he got and fired right back at them. He blocked a few people too. I'm not sure if Dan Ellis is just trying to stir up controversy and get some attention, or if he really does want to anger us "dime-a-dozen" folk, because we have nothing better to do than listen to Springsteen and Twitter and spend our paltry salaries on hockey tickets in order to further inflate the egos of "special" guys like him.

What happens next? If the NHL is anything like Hollywood, Steve Yzerman will bury his face in his hands, get on the phone, hurl a few obscenities at Danny-boy, and we'll get the half-hearted apology we deserve. And maybe Alex Auld's stock will go way up. Personally, I've never been happier to be an Alex Auld fan in my life.


  1. Nice work!

    This is exhibit A why I don't follow any celebrities (except the odd food network star) or athletes on twitter. They bring very little value to my every day life. They live in a completely different reality than the rest of us do, and I'm not all that interested in what they have to say. If something is truly worthwhile, it will transcend twitter and I'll find out about it in another way. With celebrities and athletes, you never know what is real and what is meant to cause a stir, so I avoid them entirely.

    Besides, too many people I follow retweet everything the say anyway, so I'm pretty much guaranteed to see it, unfortunately. Heck, if Mike Cammalleri tweets that he loves cheerios, half of my followers will retweet that. Huh? Why? That's of no use to me, and for the life of me I can't see why people flock to it, but that's just me.

    Good work on exposing some real stupid stuff from Dan Ellis.

  2. Meh. For once I don't really agree with you on that. I don't see why we should be outraged that Ellis fired back at a guy who just wrote "That Tampa Bay contract went straight to your head. Pekka beat you for the Nashville job. Did you forget that?" His comeback was lame, but he is entitled to answer to someone saying he is full of himself.

    And besides, I don't think what he was saying before (that high-paid athletes deserve their money because they are specialists in their field, and that not many people can do their job) is terribly stupid or worthy of getting angry. (I'm not saying that he's completely right either, but as you said, this is an entirely different debate)

    And about athletes on twitter: I find that most of them are pretty dull and uninteresting ("heading to the gym!", "can't wait for the season to start!", etc etc..) so when one of them uses twitter to actually say something (whether I agree or not) I'm not complaining.

  3. Thanks for the comments, guys, you're generally more insightful than I am so I appreciate hearing your take on it.

    I agree that sometimes celebrities tweet completely useless things, but I (innocently) assumed that a lot of them joined Twitter so that they could communicate with their fans. Ellis just wanted to attract attention and piss people off, as if he got some perverse pleasure from Internet trolls. In this case, though, people weren't really trolling, just trying to prove to Ellis that he isn't any better than the people who go to games and pay his salary.

  4. A big reason why I don't follow athletes on Twitter... or use Twitter at all, period.

  5. I have just installed iStripper, and now I enjoy having the sexiest virtual strippers on my desktop.


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