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A letter from a reader questioning my decision to reference Matt Leinart. The problem? The reader

doesn't know who Matt Leinart is. Here's the reference:

Chris Kelly: Surely the majority of the media didn't know what to make of Kelly at the beginning of the season -- he wasn't necessarily expected to make the team, and it showed. But Kelly has made his presence known with great forechecking, speed and a diligent work ethic at both ends of the ice. His efforts have not gone unnoticed by coach Bryan Murray, who has allowed the rookie to play with the team's star lines on occasion -- basically the equivalent of getting the call to be Matt Leinart's wingman at a USC co-ed party.

And the letter:

"I am a big Sens fan and have followed hockey for over 50 years. I like to think I know a lot about hockey. (In fact, I do) But I was completely puzzled by your reference to a Matt Leinhart (sic) wingman in today’s Sun. Does this have anything to do with hockey? Is it another sport? If so, perhaps you could have made it clear? Matt Leinhart (sic), whoever he is, is certainly not a well-known name in Canada. If you choose to use examples in your articles I recommend that you stick to well known sports or names. Just a thought."

Matt Leinart: Rose Bowl champion? Heisman trophy winner? Penicillin spokesperson (I'm assuming, based on the amount of women he has surely pulled down)?

Memo to Canada: This is why people make fun of you.

5 responses to "Column suitable for ages 18-49"

  1. I had to look him up too. "Matt Leinart - who the hell is that?"

    I agree with the person who wrote in to you - you're writing to an Ottawa-area audience. Why should you imagine a reader here to have any knowledge of a Southern California athlete (never mind whatever social habits he might have), regardless of how high-profile he might be down there?

    In fact, when was the last time the Sun printed ANY story featuring American college football? It barely prints any coverage of the Jays - I bet the vast majority of Ottawa readers don't know who Leinart is.

    You whiffed on the name-drop - that doesn't mean Canadians should be made fun of. That's as unfair as making fun of Americans for not knowing what a loonie is, or that milk is packaged in plastic bags up here. "You mean, you don't know what a 2-4 is? You must live in a cave, eh?"



  2. Since when does possessing a broad knowledge of sport qualify as a whiff? Apparently Canadians need to realize that there's more to life beyond hockey. Matt Leinart is a mainstream name -- he's been referenced and crossreferenced in every major sports AND entertainment publication in Canada and the U.S. He's everywhere. The reasons: 1) He's one of the most successful QBs to come out of the college ranks in years; 2) He played for a big-market team and led them to one of the longest winning streaks in years (34 straight games) and 3) He possesses a Tom Brady-like mystique -- attractive, confident with major mainstream crossover marketability. I'm going to assume you know who Tom Brady is. If not, mix in a Google. The writer of the email posted told me he didn't watch the Super Bowl (not sure why that's relevant given the fact that Leinart's not pro yet), but this apparently may apply to others.

    My readers in Ottawa represent only a portion of the number of people that read my column. The Internet website for Slam! accounts for countless others. I have received emails from readers from all corners of the U.S. and Europe. Because of that, I will make reference to other sports AND PEOPLE that have NOTHING to do with hockey.

    Will you know who Leinart is after the NFL draft? Does he need a couple of arrests on his resume for his name to stick in your head? Wake the hell up. There's more to sports beyond NHL highlights. If you're looking for dumbed-down hockey dribble, there is a multitude of other columnists to read out there. Unfortunately, I'm not one of them. And I will make fun of Canadians ad nauseam because of their close-minded nature towards all other sports not involving a stick and a puck. Your stereotype reference is completely off the mark.


    The Universal Cynic

  3. I don't know what happened to the additional comments -- I published them, and they didn't show up. Long story short, if you don't understand something, google it. Then you can be "in on it" as well.

    End of story.

    The Universal Cynic

  4. This is Argus' comment. I had to do a C and P.

    Wow - what a response.

    Yes - it's a whiff. I didn't say having broad sports knowledge is a whiff though - but inserting Leinart's name into your hockey article was.

    Where did I say, incidentally, that you had to focus strictly on hockey content in your writing? It's ironic you point out that there are sports beyond the hockey reels, but this discussion began from a comment in hockey critique.

    Look, even Bill Simmons admits that he doesn't follow US football. I'm sure he knows Leinart's name, but if one of America's highest-profile writers admits he doesn't follow the sport, I don't think it's a stretch to imagine a lot of Canadian readers don't, either. And I'm sure you've gotten replies from people who live outside of Ottawa, but are you trying to tell me your primary audience isn't the NCR?

    Your response is unnecessarily caustic. But feel free to make fun of us if you like; you can do anything you want, of course.

    /no rant

    Me again... for the record, I was referring to the reader's obsession with hockey. Hence the hockey reference. And Bill Simmons may not watch college football, but he has written about it. He's also referenced Matt Leinart a multitude of times...as have I, and if you read the column on a regular basis, you would know that. I don't follow junior hockey, but I know who John Tavares is. I don't watch the LPGA, but I know who Paula Creamer is. Just because you don't follow a sport, doesn't mean you can't learn the names. Just because they may play their sport in a different part of the country, or outside of it all together, doesn't mean they aren't relevant. And just because you don't understand a reference, doesn't make it a whiff on my part. I'm expected to be educated in respect to this business, because I know my readers are. I don't dumb things down. But you're right -- I am caustic. If you want hearts, flowers and obvious observation, go and read Kara Yorio.

    P.S. And if my local audience is so relevant, why am I permitted to write about Mats Sundin? Or Steve Moore? Or Mike Weir? Or Scott Radinsky? Or Terrell Owens? I am not a beat writer. I don't perpetually cover the local stories. And again, my regular readers know this and have never had a problem with it.

    The Universal Cynic

  5. Here's a little something to add to the Matt Leinert lore.

    He's fired his agent Steinberg and decided to go with somebody else. He wants to be the #1 pick in the draft and has told his new agency to make sure that happens. He wants the money for being the top pick and is willing to sell out his teammate to do so.

    Classy guy. *sarcasm*