Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Leave the Crosby concussion story alone

By Jeff

I tried very hard not to have a post on this topic. Can we please admit that the whole story has got out of hand and certain journalists have been irresponsible in their reporting of the story?

My first problem was people saying that the Pittsburgh Penguins were hiding the cause of the injury. Crosby was hit in the head at the Winter Classic by David Steckel. It wasn't a dirty play as far as I could tell. Crosby was turning to get back on defense and Steckel was skating hard to join the rush. The result was a nasty collision that left Crosby visibly shaken.

Despite the hit, Crosby played in his next game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. If the Pens' medical staff or Crosby thought he was concussed and endangering himself, they would never have let him take the ice. In the game Crosby took a cheap shot from Victor Hedman. Crosby has now been out six weeks because of a concussion.
I'd take a concussed over any other center in the league.

Multiple sources have come out and said that the Steckel hit was what concussed Crosby. That could be true, and maybe Crosby didn't show symptoms until after the Hedman hit. But to go after the Penguins management and medical staff like some tool from the Vancouver Sun did is silly. Why would they be lying about when the injury was sustained? And why would they ever risk their greatest asset in a game in early January? It doesn't make sense.

After Crosby's concussion was reported, Crosby came out and said the NHL needs to do something about hits to the head. This lead a lot of Crosby critics (I'm guessing most of them came from Boston, Philadelphia and D.C.) crying about Crosby's words considering the Matt Cooke hit on Marc Savard last season. These individuals are idiots that clearly did not take the 5 minutes and research before opening their mouths. Shortly after the Cooke hit, Crosby said "At some point there's got to be a clear indication from the league because we've seen this so many times now. You don't like to see anyone, their own teammate or an opposing player, lay on the ice like that. That was scary."

Sounds to me like Crosby wanted the league to do something about hits to the head back in March of 2010. What did these critics want Crosby to say? Call out his teammate to the media? That's not what leaders do, and it certainly doesn't help team chemistry. In sports, you have your teammates' backs at all times on the field and with the media. If you have problems, it's kept in the locker room.

As if these dumb stories weren't enough, David Shoalts from the Globe and Mail in Toronto wrote a column that he said "Words filtering out of the the Pittsburgh Penguins locker room is that Crosby is an angry young man, angry enough to pull his considerably star presence from one of the league's showcase events because he does not think the league is doing enough to protect its players."
Why is it that sports writers
look like they never played?

You have to love anonymous sources in stories like this. Shoalts didn't even say if it was player, coach, medical staff member or janitor that gave him his information. This is an example of bad journalism. If you're sick of me calling out media, I'm sorry, but I went to school for this and have been in the field. You are not taught to spew this crap. Anonymous sources should only be used in big stories where the anonymous source is providing important information that you would stop getting if the source's identity was released. Crosby's concussion and alleged anger at the NHL is not one of these stories.

The Pensblog recently pointed out that Shoalts is now trying to claim it was only his opinion that Crosby was going to skip the all-star Game because of his anger. That's a load of crap and he's just trying to cover his ass after writing a bad story. Does this sound like an opinion piece to you? The only times Shoalts makes his own comments on the story are in the first and fifth paragraphs. But Shoalts does not express that he thinks Crosby is skipping the all-star game because of anger in either of these paragraphs. He just says he thinks Crosby was going to be a captain for the game and that the Pens will not be "distressed" if Crosby misses the event and plays in the following regular season game.

I've never read any other work by David Shoalts, but he certainly sucked with this story.

The final straw that led me to writing this already too long post is I was dumb enough to read the user comments of a recent Pierre LeBrun story on The LeBrun post was pretty good. For those of you who didn't click on the link, he basically said that Crosby's injury might make the league revisit the hits to the head rule (Rule 48). But the comments to the post were ridiculous.

This is my message to Crosby haters.
I understand if you hate Crosby. I don't want everyone to love him like Pens fans do. Crosby loves hearing opposing fans mock him as he lights up their goalies and makes their players look like traffic cones. But going off about how he is a hockey player and should be tougher is moronic. Clearly, these individuals have never had a real concussion, let alone tried to player professional hockey with one. They probably bumped their heads at some point, diagnosed themselves with a concussion because they went on and think they're tough. They're not. They're just stupid.

Haven't we learned anything from the recent studies regarding concussions? These are very dangerous injuries that we don't know enough about. Saying someone is a sissy because he won't play a professional sport like hockey with one is ignorant. Skating around with a concussion while five professional athletes weighing an average of 200 pounds try to ram their bodies into you is not a good idea. Crosby is not a wimp for not coming back until 100 percent, and the Pens wouldn't let him if he tried.

This story needs to die. The league's best player is injured and we're not sure when he will be back. That's the only story that needs to be reported. Can we move on now?

The Eagles - Get Over It


  1. No idea if you're able to answer this, but I've always wondered what the punishment is, if any, for completely botching a story like this. Would you happen to have an idea?

  2. Depends on the editor in charge. If I did this at my old job, the sports editor would take me to the third level of the parking garage, let me know how stupid it is and then tell me I need to think more. Then, the managing editor would keep me in after the Page 1 meeting and tell me how bad it was. Then there is always a chance of the publisher getting in one the pile on.

    With Gannett papers, if you make a factual error in a story, you have to fill out a clearing form that makes you feel like a 5-year-old. You have to say what you did wrong, what your reasons were for making the mistake and then how you plan on improving yourself so it never happens again.

  3. Thanks, all that is pretty interesting to me. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it sounds like they really beat it into you. Thanks again.


    Leave Sidney Alone!!