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(Ed. Note: This is an extended version of the column appearing in the February 5 Ottawa Sun.)

I knew something was up with Sidney Crosby. I could sense it at the draft.

Sidney Crosby is the epitome of hype -- the one element that I have always rebelled against. I hate the hype. Always have. And as I meandered about during the entire draft weekend -- taking it all in, making observations -- something felt amiss.

And it had to do with that kid.

The coronation of No. 87 on the weekend of July 30 was the slickest of P.R. presentations. It all had to go according to plan, seeing as the league was emerging from an unprecedented lockout. Every question under the sun was asked of Sidney Crosby during that period. It's a wonder someone didn't inquire if he had lost his virginity yet.

Sidney answered them all, like the puppet he is. I'm sure his handlers put him through a rigourous testing before unveiling him to the masses.

The answers were polite and boring. The smiles were forced. The media raved about a maturity that seemed to reach far beyond his 17 years. I stood back and watched it all, and wondered to myself if this child had a personality.

Well, it turns out he does. How unfortunate that it makes its presence known on the most public of stages.

Sidney Crosby is not likeable. His play and skill are, but his personality is not. Unfortunately for those of us that remain on the outside looking in to Crosby Nation, that opinion is an unacceptable one.

Crosby will never be a Tom Brady-type, regardless of if he also is fortunate enough to bring home three championships. He lacks poise. He lacks maturity. He lacks mystique. He lacks the elusive quality that gives an athlete the ability to cross over into mainstream culture.

But that hasn't stopped people from jamming him down our throats at every turn. The kid appeared on the cover of GQ, for God's sakes. Did I mention that he also lacks pulchritude? Seeing that child without his shirt off makes me feel like I'm venturing into Mary Kay LeTourneau territory.

Crosby Nation also has a fierce ally in their corner: The media.

Example: In an early December matchup between the Wild and Penguins, FSN analyst Bob Errey claimed that after Sidney Crosby had received a penalty for a delay of game, referee Dan O'Rourke was goading The Kid into an unsportmanlike conduct, simply by staring at him. In Errey's opinion, this was an attempt to make Sid chirp.

Example: In mid-January, a well-known Toronto columnist wrote, "Sid (The Kid) Crosby is quickly browning off old-style NHL traditionalists with his consistent whining and good for him for not getting in line, which is the hockey way."

Example: Over the past two months, there have been numerous discussions on all three Canadian sports networks regarding the two Calder trophy frontrunners -- Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin. There have been multiple suggestions that the race is an unfair one, given that Ovechkin is older, and therefore more experienced than Crosby.

What is this? Sarcasm?

I can't take it anymore. Every night it's another excuse, and I'm led to spew profanity-laced vitriol under my breath as I read The Globe and Mail in the Hazeldean Starbucks.

I don't put this all on Crosby. That would be unfair. His practice appearance in Toronto where he arrived in a limo? That was his handlers' fault. It wasn't his fault that he was made an assistant captain (but that doesn't justify the decision). And his handlers obviously only saw the positives and none of the negatives of him moving in with Mario Lemieux.

But every favour he receives -- every action that creates more of an individual and less of a teammate -- makes him more unlikable in some people's eyes.

Try to convince me of otherwise. It can't be done.

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