Yes, this is a very flattering picture of Duncan Keith
Twitter blew up on Monday night, and the blogosphere blew up on Tuesday morning, about an exchange between the Team 1040’s Karen Thomson and Blackhawks dman Duncan Keith during the post game scrum on following Monday night’s Canuckw victory. It was an exchange that focused on Keith errant slash of Daniel Sedin during the latter’s scoring the third goal of the game.
Keith framed his comments as asking Thomson whether she had ever played the game. Did he do that because he figured, as a woman, she’d never played sports? Or did he do it because of the tired, ‘oh, you’re just a reporter, you couldn’t possibly know what it’s like to be in the heat of the moment during a game, since, obviously, you’ve never played the game.’
Many jumped on the former bandwagon, but is that really the case?
Before getting into what Keith said, let’s recall the incident in question:
Keith is well and truly beaten; he’s played the game enough to know that. It’s clear he’s had a beef with the Canucks (and Daniel in particular, it would seem) for some time. Seeing a Sedin streak away like that, given how badly the game was going anyway, must have been frustrating. I’ve played the game, and I’ve done stupid things with my stick.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t admit it was dumb.
What Keith did was pretty dumb. His timing was off. It was a desperate attempt, at best, to hinder Daniel’s attempt on goal but more likely to just make sure he felt it. It was a cynical play, born from frustration and annoyance.
It was a fair thing to ask about after the game; this is a public sport, filled with opinion. The reporter’s main job is to find out what happened.
That’s what Karen Thomson was seeking to do. Too often sports reporters are guilty of asking ‘softball’ questions – of letting players off the hook in explaining their actions. Homerism probably did motivate Thomson somewhat, but in an indirect kind of way of knowing what the fans in Vancouver wanted to hear. Nothing wrong with any of that: she saw an event, one that most would see as somewhat harmless but still pretty callous, and she asked for a comment.
Instead, she got a response that was fuelled solely by arrogance.
‘I’m a hockey player, what could you possibly know?’ Maybe she should have said ‘I don’t know Duncan, you’re the expert – we’ve all seen the video, you swung your stick wildly, is that a common practice for you? No? So why did you do it?’
Where this gets potentially far worse is Keith’s inclusion of ‘first female referee’ in his response. Is he implying that since she’s a woman, she’s unlikely to become an NHL-qualified official? Probably. Is he implying ‘this is a man’s world, so get out’? That’s harder to judge and I’m just not sure.
There’s no doubting that Keith was being a massive jerk. He’s parroting an old line, one that occasionally has some merit – there are plenty of commentators who make very little effort to understand how things happen, choosing to give their opinion without actually asking any questions – but in this case, Thomson was simply asking a question. It wasn’t unreasonable for Keith to begin with ‘what did you see?’ but to then assume that her question was junk because it had merely been asked, that was ridiculous and over the line.
To even bring up gender? That’s how you get into trouble.