Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week they discuss Jason Collins ignoring homophobic slurs, Sam Tageson's big day with the San Jose Sharks, Alex Rodriguez in the news again, and Sidney Crosby's Hart Trophy case.
Bruce Arthur, National Post
My thumb is up to Jason Collins of the Brooklyn Nets. Remember Jason Collins? Big guy, sets screens, commits fouls, plays defence, and recently the first openly gay player in any of North America's four major sports leagues. He never did much as a player; he still doesn't. And in his first 10 games since signing with Brooklyn, Collins hasn't been a distraction, hasn't created a media circus, and says that only one opposing player has thrown homophobic slurs his way. And how Collins reacted to that was important. He could have named names, damaged the guy's reputation, and cost him a big league fine. Instead, in the manner of Jackie Robinson, Collins ignored the slurs. He just played, with dignity. By doing nothing Jason Collins showed that nameless idiot what mattered, and that it wasn't him.
Steve Simmons, Sun Media
My thumb is up to the San Jose Sharks, and not because they're my pick to win the Stanley Cup. We'll get to that in another show. This week the Sharks made the most meaningful transaction since the trade deadline. They signed 17-year-old Sam Tageson to a one-day contract, and turned one day into a lifetime of memories for many. Tageson was born with a debilitating heart condition that prevents strenuous activity. But against his doctor's advice, he has never stopped playing hockey. The Sharks signed him to a one-day deal, had him practice with the team, dress with the club, hang around the players, and then skate out through that gigantic shark head and stand at the blue line for the national anthem. The crowd, the bench, the building, went crazy. For one night, there was crying in hockey and everybody loved it.
Dave Naylor, TSN Radio 1050
My thumb is down to Alex Rodgriguez, who once again is embroiled in controversy, this time over supposed unpaid legal fees racked up while he was trying to defend himself from the season-long suspension. If you thought we could look forward to this baseball season to some respite from more A-Rod controversy, well, think again. There's some disputing the legitimacy of this week's reports, with suggestions that A-Rod fully intends to pay his bills. And since he has a net worth reported at more than 300 million, why wouldn't we give him the benefit of the doubt? Wait a minute … Alex Rodriguez? Benefit of the doubt? Oh, nevermind.
Dave Hodge, TSN
My thumb is up in agreement with Pittsburgh Penguins' coach Dan Bylsma, who thinks Sidney Crosby is due to win the Hart Trophy for the second time, though I will take issue with Bylsma when he says there is "no question" that Crosby is the NHL's most valuable player. I do think there's a question – I'm not sure why when the Penguins' captain is running away with the scoring race and has appeared in all of Pittsburgh's 70 games to lead the Pens to a certain Metropolitan Division title, but NHL watchers seem to want to consider other candidates. One problem with that - there's no answer to the question: who else should win? The next time you want Crosby to be better, name someone who is.