Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Jets Meter?

Now, I'm all for a team to return to Winnipeg. They shouldn't have left in the first place, but due to the economics of 1995-1996, they had to. The rumors have been swirling up a tornado since the Phoenix Coyotes ownership saga has hit the mainstream, and they are more fervent now than ever with 2 teams potentially up for relocation. And now, TSN, Canada's equivalent of ESPN has a "Jets Meter" on their NHL page. I have one question: aren't these organizations supposed to be unbiased?

I am a die-hard Florida Panthers fan. I believe that hockey can work in the South. But if you know anything about the history of the Panthers, you know that they've missed the playoffs for the last 9 seasons, about to be 10. They've been horribly mismanaged for those 10 years, and the team and its fan base has suffered. But, the die-hards are there, and they are no different than the die-hards in Toronto, New York, or Montreal. The same is true in Atlanta, Tampa Bay, and Phoenix. The problem with these teams is the mismanagement, and that's why the teams have ownership issues and struggle all the time. This is how we ended up in this situation.

But, when a network that should be neutral is openly rooting for the return of the Jets that is where bias comes into play, and becomes favoritism. Let the fan sites deal with that issue. Not TSN. Some people may quietly root for the return of the Jets in that network, but don't do it openly. They've never supported hockey in the south, all just so more teams can come to Canada. Even though I think more teams in Canada is a great idea for the NHL that is something for the league to decide, not TSN. Let the fans be fans and the journalists be journalists.

When you become a sports journalist, or in my case try to, you're taught to be unbiased, and not cheer anyone: even the teams you grew up rooting for. Most of the people at TSN are in the top class of journalists. People like Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger, Jay Onrait, are the best on either side of the border. And I know I'm missing a few, but bear with me. I don't know whose idea the "Jets Meter" was, but it was a not a good one. It would be like ESPN having a "Kings to Anaheim" meter on ESPN LA; it just doesn't work with the class of journalism.

The Jets may return to Winnipeg this off season, and I wouldn't complain about it. But, I do think TSN is out-of-line to openly root for something when they should be unbiased. TSN is a great network-- sometimes I think they're much better than ESPN-- but ESPN never openly roots for teams to succeed. You can pick up on the signs, but they never do something like what TSN is doing now. This is coming from all of the die-hards from the southern teams. Just because we may be vulnerable, doesn't mean you can just pick the team up and move it where you please just because the team is bad. There are many reasons why these teams have failed, and when they win, they're supported like every other team.

Sports Journalism needs to be unbiased, and TSN crossed the line.

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