Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week they discuss the NBA of Canada, New York broadcasters, Milwaukee Brewers fans and Johnny Manziel.
Bruce Arthur, National Post
My thumb is down to the National Basketball League of Canada, a nine-team minor league that is emphasizing the minor league, of late. Before a playoff game 7 this week between the Windsor Express and the London Lightning, Windsor owner and apparent local goofball Darton Willis ejected London Free Press columnist Morris Della Costa because he disapproved of his work, which in this case included tweeting about a Windsor player flipping off some fans. Commissioner Paul Riley cited his own experience as a journalism professor while siding with the owner, which should be taught in introduction to irony 101. If these maroons were trying to get their minor league some attention, ok, it worked. But this is what we learned: if this is how you treat the people who pay attention to you now, why should the rest of us bother?
Dave Naylor, TSN
My thumb is down to the trio of broadcasters at WFAN in New York, who this week criticized the Met's Daniel Murphy for missing the first two games of the Major League Baseball season so that he could be with his wife for the birth of their son, Noah. First a little perspective here folks; Daniel murphy played 161 games last season for New York, so it doesn't appear as if he's a slacker. Even if you happen to believe that a trio of baseball games is more important that being present for your child's birth - guess what - it's a right the players collectively bargained. Can we all just admit that professional sports is the only place where anyone can be criticized for missing work to be there for the birth of a child. And really, for those of us who love pro sports, that's kind of pathetic.
Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated
My thumb is down to the standing ovation brewers fans gave Ryan Braun at Milwaukee's home opener. I get it. Sports, like politics, are local. Hey, Braun might be a drug cheat and liar, but he's our drug cheat and liar. But even after serving his 65-game suspension and kissing up with apologies to season ticket holders, Braun hardly seemed worthy of a love-in. In cowardly fashion, he tried to slough off a positive test on a urine sample collector. He attempted to cover his drug shame by implying he was a victim of anti-Semitism. Fans are free to choose their heroes, Milwaukee should have chosen more wisely.
Dave Hodge, TSN
My thumb is up to the legend of Johnny Manziel - yes, he's already a legend, perhaps too soon, so I'll stop short of saying thumbs up to Johnny Football himself. Yes, Johnny Football, or J-man or JFF, as he wants to be called if you're buying apparel with those trademarks that he's seeking. J-man, I would have thought Jay Onrait would have beaten him to that, and JFF is either just for fun or Johnny-freaking-football, I'm not sure. But we love stories like his in this business, and so we look forward to the NFL draft primarily because of him. The team that picks him suddenly becomes more interesting, no matter how interesting it might be already, and it will have to inform Manziel that he's a rookie and he has veteran teammates, who won't necessarily like him as much as the media does.