Fusspot rants, embarrassing photos of yourself and general correspondence go here: universalnicks@gmail.com

Regarding today's mention of the blog in The Globe and Mail (if you missed it, here's the clip):

We reported two weeks ago on the perceived obsequious behaviour of Team 1200 toward the Ottawa Senators, who were struggling at the time. The station, which is the club's rights-holder, confirmed it had cut back on postgame phone-ins, but denied there had been pressure from the Senators to get rid of the angry fan rants.

Still, the Senators media have a reputation for being soft. Occasionally a player or even the coach will get rapped. But the front office, which is to say president Roy Mlakar and general manager John Muckler, is out of bounds.

The sensitivity to upper management was illustrated during owner Eugene Melnyk's media conference call of Nov. 16 during which he affirmed his support for Muckler and coach Bryan Murray. In a whiny tone, he complained about media rumour and speculation on the status of Muckler and Murray. Club owners in big-league cities wouldn't have bothered.

In an e-mail, an Ottawa fan wrote, "[Sens] have a reputation around town of being a nice, fan-friendly organization, but behind the scenes Roy Mlakar has been known for some heavy-handed tactics."

Writer Erin Nicks freelances to the sports section of the Ottawa Sun. On her blog, she wrote a while ago, "There are two incidents that stand out in my mind. The first occurred when I did some guest hosting for [Team 1200] several years ago. The program director at the time made it very clear to me that I was not to speak negatively about the Senators, in any way, shape or form. . . .

"The second incident occurred not long after I secured the [Sun] column. I criticized [Sens forward] Mike Fisher — honest to God, I can't remember what I said exactly. . . . Anyway, the next day I received a terse email from a well-known member of the Sens' front office who took issue with what I wrote. Being the neophyte that I was, I apologized for offending him [and possibly Fisher]."

I've noticed that a synopsis regarding this subject has turned up in a multitude of places, including Senators message boards. The perception by most seems to be that I have been "silenced" by various factions of the Senators and the outlets that they use (i.e. The Team).

Let me assure everyone that my radio guest hosting experience happened several years ago -- the current program director that is in place was not the one I dealt with. I don't know if I would have been given the same instructions today. Futhermore, I had little concern regarding what I had been told, because I was able to speak freely via The Jim Rome Show, and at the time, was doing so on a regular basis. Rome's show, although broadcast from Los Angeles, possessed a much larger audience, and therefore my opinions on his program could have been perceived as far more detrimental to the Senators.

If The Team's program director had a problem with what I had said previously, I doubt he would have let me guest host.

It should also be noted that at the time, I was working in an entirely different field from the one I am currently employed in. At no time did anyone from the Senators approach me, or my former employer, with a demand to cease my complaints.

As for the email I received -- I doubt I am the first writer to receive a missive like that, and I'm sure I won't be the last. I was never told to retract my comments, nor was I reprimanded by Sun Media for the column. The front office person in question didn't like what I wrote. A lot of people don't, and I regularly hear about it. It doesn't faze me.

To summarize: There has been one person that asked me to refrain from speaking negatively about the Senators -- a former program director for The Team. It happened several years ago, long before I was writing the column. The Senators, at the time, were not in a state of turmoil (i.e. trade demands and request for front office changes), so I went along with it -- if I wanted to complain, I would do so on Rome's show, and no one ever attempted to stop me. In addition, no one has ever threatened to terminate me, or have my column ceased, based on something that I have written thus far.

Anyone who attempts to claim, or twist my statements to suggest that something else has occurred involving myself, is telling a falsehood.

End of story.

3 responses to "You Snap The Whip: Part II"

  1. "Boy, you guys in Ottawa really like your team..."
    Why is it, when the Sens win, Don Brennan and Chris Stevenson can write about 10,000 words in three differnet stories on the game, (including notes about bank security guards retireing), yet when they lose, a 700 or 800 word capsule can only be found...Come on, Donnie, I want to read about spezz stepping on a puck, falling down and causing a 2-1 the other way!

    Which brings me to my second tangent....

    Sorry, but the Globe's blog gave the same impression your piece gave me a couple of weeks ago, as in the Sens Front Office = Rick Pitino a la
    "The negativity in this town stinks..." Which means they won't the losses and hard time suffocated..

    If loss = negative, are the front office folks telling Brennan et-al to keep a lid on the losses?
    Garrioch is about ( I can't believe I'm going to type this) the only level headed one around....


  2. AC,

    I don't understand how this correlates to the post. As for Brennan and Stevenson vs. Garrioch: Garrioch is a beat writer -- he doesn't concentrate on opinion.

    The Universal Cynic

  3. Your right, it doesn't relate, forgive me I was drunk. But I find it curious why the flowing game reports come on wins as opposed to losses...anyway....
    I'm glad you clarified as I got the impression the Sens front office was (Behind the scenes, anyway) heavy handed about negativite press directed the teams way....Obviously, other people gleaned the same thought....It happened once, but at what rate I guess only the poh-pohs would know for sure...