Manufactured Controversy

The Toronto sports media environment is very competitive and the competition for readership and advertising dollars is immense. Over the years we have grown to excuse and sometimes overlook what drives some of articles we read regarding the sports teams in the city. However in a culture of manufactured controversy, we have seen articles and blogs alike creating controversy in the fan bases of Toronto’s most popular teams.

This point has been driven home time and time again when it comes to the #TorontoMapleLeafs . Below are just a few topics that have been written about that served no purpose other than to rile up a portion of Leafs Nation that is already spastic and looking for something to complain about.

Who can forget the media Toronto stating that the hiring of Mike Babcock meant that the Leafs were going to fast track the rebuild and that Mike Babcock is more ideal for an already competing team and wouldn’t want to take on the task of rebuilding of the Maple Leafs from rock bottom.  In the season and half he has been here, I don’t think I would have had it any other way, Mike Babcock has turned around the careers of Nazem Kadri and Jack Gardiner and that isn’t to mention what he has done with a team filled with rookies this season. Do I have to mention that after 41 games this season, the word “playoff” has become part of all our vocabularies?

With Babcock at the helm, The Leafs’ rebuild is worlds ahead of those in Buffalo, Arizona, Colorado just to name a few. This why Babcock’s hiring was pure genius, who better to mold a young roster into champions than a coach that has such a successful track record of Stanley Cups, World Cup, Olympic Gold. Why the need to question such a amazing hire by the media boggles my mind, would they have preferred Carlyle or Wilson?

Then came the articles that Lou Lamoriello couldn’t work in the established management team that Brendan Shanahan had assembled before his arrival. Too many cooks they said would ruin the soup, well after almost a year at the helm he has helped to orchestrate the trade of Dion Phaneuf, was able to get a number one goalie in Fredrik Andersen, and yet no controversy or drama coming out of Toronto. The Maple Leafs are now regarded as having one of the best front office staffs in all the NHL.

Last saw summer saw the panic around the entry level contracts of Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, both the media said wouldn’t include performance bonuses and that would cause conflict with both young players because Lou didn’t like these bonuses. Than the contracts were signed and both received performance bonuses and interviews after held by the players and Lou made no mention of any conflict as the deals were signed relatively quickly.

So what can we do as fans to fix this broken system?  Well as a fan base we need to through our engagement with these sports writers ask for a higher standard of writing or we need to stop clicking and supporting their advertising efforts because if they see that they can’t make money on these types of articles it may force real sports journalism. There was a time that sports writers were respected and writers used to educate its readers and provided real insight into our favorite teams. By not clicking, we can shut these controversy factories down, and hopefully bring about change in what we read in our daily newspapers and online.