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A Thanksgiving Day turkey shoot for the sports fan

In celebration of Turkey Day in the Great White North, we salute the top-10 turkeys in Canadian sports. Gobble, gobble, gobble…

  1. Joey Bats goes batty.

    Jose Bautista: Sorry, but still can’t get over Joey Bats’ bat flip.

  2. Genie Bouchard: Can’t win on the tennis court, pouts about the “burden” of carrying our colors on the women’s tour. Poor, put-upon Genie. Leads the league in pity parties.

  3. Steve Simmons: The Postmedia columnist/TSN talking head has made a living being loud, objectionable and condescending, but now he’s actually cheering for people to lose their jobs. Disgraceful.

  4. Ken King and Calgary Flames ownership: Attempted blackmail is seldom a favorable optic.

  5. Kent Austin: First he tried to bring disgraced coach Art Briles (see Baylor University sex scandal) to the Canadian Football League, now the Hamilton Tiger-Cats bossman wants to recruit Johnny Manziel, who’s had more than one day in court for beating up a woman. Any other seedy sorts you want to bring on board, Kent?

  6. Decision-makers at Sportsnet: Really, what do they have against the CFL? They pay it only slightly more attention than the latest monster truck rally.

  7. The Republic of Tranna: More than 6 million people and only 15,000 of them care to journey to BMO Field when the Toronto Argonauts play? Pitiful.

  8. This qualifies as a wardrobe malfunction.

    Don Cherry: The human wardrobe malfunction hasn’t said anything really stupid so far on Hockey Night in Canada. It’s early. He won’t disappoint.

  9. Gary Bettman: Yo! Weasel nose! Keep your pointy beak out of our civic elections.

  10. Chris Jones: Wanna break a rule? Who you gonna call? The Saskatchewan Roughriders general manager and head coach, of course.

Bonus Gobblers: Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler, the Toronto Blue Jays voices on Sportsnet. I realize baseball is a slow-paced game, but Buck and Pat make it absolutely funereal.


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Two dozen reasons to give thanks on Thanksgiving Day

Am I thankful on this Canadian Thanksgiving Day? Absolutely, and let me count two dozen ways…

  • I’m thankful that I’m not a roasted turkey on a dinner table with someone holding a large knife standing over me.

  • Speaking of turkeys, I’m thankful that the folks down south have Donald Trump and we don’t.

  • Thich Nhat Hanh

    I’m thankful that Thich Nhat Hanh has written so many wonderful books.

  • I’m thankful that I’ve heard Alison Krauss’s voice.

  • I’m thankful for the mountains that greet me each morning when I raise my window blinds.

  • I’m thankful that it’s safe for two women in love to stroll down the street in my city, hand in hand or arm in arm, and it’s perfectly acceptable.

  • I’ll be even more thankful when the day arrives that my gay male friends can do the same thing.

  • I’m thankful that someone thought it would be a swell idea to put pineapple on pizza, because I want a medium Hawaiian with extra cheese to be my last meal.

  • I’m thankful for subsidized housing for seniors, otherwise I might be on the street.

  • I’m thankful for management and staff at Bart’s Pub and the Taphouse on Yates, because they have always treated me with kindness, warmth and respect.

  • I’m thankful for Mike the cabbie and John for the giggles they give me each time they sit with me at Bart’s.

  • I’m thankful for Ashley, an unexpected and precious gift of a young lady who came into my life late and brought a special joy.

  • Wilma Rudolph

    I’m thankful that I got to watch Rafael Nadal and Bjorn Borg play tennis, Wilma Rudolph run, Secretariat run, Gale Sayers run with a football, Sandy Koufax throw a baseball, Bobby Orr play hockey and Tiger Woods strike a golf ball.

  • I’m thankful for my dearest friends in Victoria, especially Cullen, Terry, Lucy, Brian, Sean and Bruce, who have always been there, and Beverley and Davey in Winnipeg.

  • I’m thankful for my squadron of doctors, who keep an eye on my wonky kidneys.

  • I’m thankful for Jane and Mariola, whose warm smiles and continued kindness make my fear of needles disappear whenever I visit their lab.

  • I’m thankful for the angel who visits me and keeps me safe.

  • I’ll be more thankful when she tells me that my niece Darcia is safe.

  • I’m thankful that my brother Mick came back into my life.

  • The Beatles

    I’m thankful that John, Paul, George and Ringo decided to make music together.

  • I’m thankful that there’s a roof over my head, clothing on my back and food in my fridge.

  • I’m thankful I don’t drive a car anymore. It’s dangerous out there.

  • I’m thankful for Terry, Helina and Attila at Paparazzi Nightclub in Victoria for hiring me when no one else would.

  • I’m thankful that the good in life still outweighs the evil, even though you wouldn’t think it by reading and watching the news some days.

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About the Curling Whisperer, Moosie Turnbull…mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa from Cam Newton and Jourdan Rodrigue…letting women-beaters into the CFL…and Kitty Cait is sorry, too…

Random thoughts before the candle goes out and the sun comes up…

Canada didn’t invent curling. That’s down to the wee Scots. But we acted as if the game was ours, winning 12 of the first 14 men’s world championships.

Then Ray Turnbull had to go and stick his long, thin nose into other people’s business.

Moosie Turnbull

Our Moosie couldn’t leave well enough alone. No sir. He just had to take his Manitoba tuck delivery and show it off for all the world to see. Next thing you know, the Swedes, Swiss, Norwegians and Americans were kicking our hoser butts. Most years they still do on the women’s side.

And that’s the legacy Turnbull leaves behind. He was the Curling Whisperer.

Moosie, who surrendered to cancer at age 78 on Friday, has a resume that few, if any, can parallel. Yet it isn’t his Brier title and silver medal at the worlds in 1965, nor his tutorials to curling-curious nations around the globe, nor his 25 years beside Vic Rauter and Linda Moore in the TSN broadcast booth that I’ll remember most about Turnbull. It’s the person. He was a big, lovely man, full of enthusiasm.

Whenever I saw Moosie at the Brier, the Scotties, a women’s or men’s world tournament, or his home hangout, the Granite Curling Club at One Granite Way in Winnipeg, he was always quick with a warm greeting, a smile and a story. Moosie talked curling like Donald Trump talks about himself. All. The. Time. But it never got boring.

I last saw Moosie at a Brier in Calgary. I was writing for the Tankard Times and we had occasion to chat after one of the bleary-eyed, early-morning draws. Among other things, we discussed his ’65 Brier win with Bronco Braunstein’s outfit, which included the legendary Don Duguid and Ron Braunstein.

Unfortunately,” said Moosie, who threw lead stones, “we fell short at the world championships that year. We lost to Bud Somerville and his U.S. team in Perth, Scotland. I guess that’s the one regret.”

A single regret. I’d say that’s a curling life well lived. So long, Moosie.

Cam Newton

Apologies, which we’ve all been required to make, are wonderful when not forced or scripted, and most mea culpas you hear from professional athletes are exactly that—forced and scripted. Which, of course, lends itself to skepticism re sincerity. Cam Newton certainly sounded sincere when he delivered a mea culpa to women the world over for his dumb-ass remark about how damn “funny” it is to hear a “female” discuss receiver routes in football. “Don’t be like me, be better than me,” he said, scant hours after Dannon had advised the Carolina Panthers quarterback that he wouldn’t be pitching their Oikos yogurt anymore. Okay, Cam is sorry. Except that doesn’t put his genie back in the bottle. He said what he said about women. Just a bunch of airheads. Can’t scrub that stain away.

On the matter of ugly stains, it turns out that the target of Newton’s objectionable conduct, Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer, is, if not a raging racist, a big fan of racism. She sent out some truly disgusting tweets while in college, one of which was a salute to her dad for being “super racist as we pass through Navajo land.” Someone else, perhaps her dad, was “the best. Racist jokes the whole drive home.” And there was something about fast car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. being a “bitch nigga.” Naturally, Rodrigue is “deeply sorry.” Probably not as sorry as she will be when the Observer hauls her tush off the football beat. I mean, the newspaper has no choice, right? It cannot possibly keep her on the Panthers beat when the great majority of the people she interacts with are black men. Her cred is totally shot.

Since apologies seem to be vogue, I’d like to take this opportunity to say “I’m sorry” for everything I’ve ever written.

Johnny Manziel

I take no issue with jock journalists sprinkling their copy with political commentary, but some scribes absolutely should stick to sports. Take Steve Simmons of Postmedia as an e.g. Last October, he wrote this: “Ray Rice lost his career to domestic violence. Shouldn’t (New York) Giants kicker Josh Brown have lost his already for similar reasons without video?” Yet here was Simmons just last month, writing about Johnny Manziel coming to the Canadian Football League: “Personally, I think the CFL is stronger, maybe more fun, possibly more fan-appealing, with Manziel playing or trying to play the Canadian game.” So, there should be no room in the game for men like Rice and Brown, both of whom have physically abused women, but let’s all open our arms to Manziel because it’ll be so much “more fun” having a woman-beater on a CFL roster. Earth to Simmons! Manziel twice beat up his former girlfriend and landed in court because of it. He threatened to kill her. She was granted a protection order that remains in effect. Manziel is cut from the same bolt of cloth as Rice and Brown. If they don’t belong (and they surely do not), neither does he.

Well, look who’s having herself a hissy fit. Why, it’s none other than Caitlyn Jenner, who, once upon a time, starred in a reality TV show that was a self-homage and a transgender train wreck. A very dense Kitty Cait, much to the astonishment and dismay or her hand-picked, paid trans posse, used her I Am Cait platform to assure us that Donald Trump, if elected president of the United States, would be very good for women and the LGBT community. So she voted for him. And now? Anti-trans Trump and his anti-trans sidekick, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, are “a disgrace.” Kitty Cait is absolutely shocked that the Transphobe-in-Chief continues to roll out an anti-transgender agenda. Like, helloooo. Anybody home, Cait? You really didn’t see this coming? Total ditz.

Kitty Cait cruising in her Austin-Healey and Trump cap.

Kitty Cait spent part of her summer sucking up to the transgender community. Seems she had a wardrobe malfunction, whereby she mistakenly (as if) wore a Trump Make America Great Again cap on a coffee run and, somewhere between Starbucks and the Malibu mansion, the paparazzi spotted her cruising in her Austin-Healey convertible (do all trans women drive those?). Click went the cameras. Not a good optic when the president and cronies are attacking the T in LGBT. She’s made a vow to never again leave home wearing her MAGA ball cap. Never, never, never. She even threatened to toss the thing into the dust bin. She has not, however, promised to do the same thing with Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

While reading about Kitty Cait’s great ball cap flap, I recalled her once telling a reporter that “the hardest part about being a woman is figuring out what to wear.” Ya, it must be such a hassle deciding between a Trump hat and something that might have a touch of class.

Just wondering: Has anyone on CNN ever said something positive about Donald Trump? I’m not a Trumpite. I think he’s quite the buffoon. A dangerous buffoon. But, really, the constant trashing can be overbearing. I suppose that’s why we have buttons on our remotes, though.

Brief review of the season’s second episode of Will & Grace: Not as good as the premiere. Not even close. I must make a point of asking my gay male friends if they find the show humorous.

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Yo! Cam Newton! Some of the women who escaped from the kitchen actually watch football

Cam Newton must think Katie Sowers is funnier than a barrel full of Three Stooges.

I mean, she’s a she who talks about the “routes” receivers run in the National Football League, and that, to Cam, is high comedy. A real knee-slapper. A regular riot. Why, it’s Seinfeld-worthy.

Jourdan Rodrigue

Oh, yes, a “female” discussing the intricacies of the manly enterprise that is professional football is such a gut-buster that Cam simply could not contain himself on Wednesday when a “female” fed him a query about one of the people who catch the passes he throws for the Carolina Panthers.

I know you take a lot of pride in seeing your receivers play well,” said Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer. “Devin Funchess has seemed to really embrace the physicality of his routes and getting those extra yards. Does that give you a little bit of enjoyment to see him kind of truck sticking people out there?”

As soon as the word “routes” passed Rodrigue’s lips, Newton closed his eyes and began to smile and sway, waiting for her to finish.

It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes, like…it’s funny,” the Panthers quarterback said, flashing a toothy, dumb-ass grin like he was in the front row at a Chris Rock stand-up show at the L.A. Improv.

Ya, funny Cam. That must be the reason the San Francisco 49ers hired the aforementioned Katie Sowers as a full time coach to work with their receivers. For comic relief. And, say, Sowers is one of those lesbians, isn’t she? A lesbian teaching receiver “routes?” Even more reason to yuk it up, right Cam?

Hey, come to think of it, maybe Jourdan Rodrigue is a lesbo, too. Ya, that must be it. That would explain everything. No straight girl would ever talk about “routes.” If straight girls talk football, it’s about the color of the uniforms or the tight tush on Gisele Bundchen’s hubby, Tom Brady. Only a gay girl would get into specifics like a go route, a hitch screen and slants. And it’s sooooo darn funny when she says it.

I wonder what else Cam Newton thinks is funny to hear females talk about. Car engines? Power tools? The payload on a Chevy Silverado pickup?

Poor Cam. Apparently he missed the memo about women being allowed out of the kitchen. One of them, in fact, strayed so damn far from the kitchen that she almost got herself elected president of the United States last November. Hmmm. Wonder if Hillary Clinton knows anything about football. Probably not. Otherwise she’d have punted Bill to the sidelines when he brought Monica into the huddle.

Annabel Bowlen with the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

At any rate, ol’ Cam has put a whole lot of knickers in knots with his antiquated, offensive stereotyping of women, and you’d think he’d know better. A whole lot better. He is, after all, a black quarterback and, once upon a time, many, if not most, of the deep-thinkers in football were of a mind that African-Americans were, well, just too dumb to play QB. You know, like Cam believes a female reporter is just too dumb to talk about pass “routes.”

Supposedly, we weren’t smart enough or had the leadership qualities or whatever it took,” says Warren Moon, the sole black QB in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “At every position, for African-Americans, conquering that myth at quarterback was so important.”

It wasn’t until Doug Williams delivered a Super Bowl championship to the Washington Redskins in 1988 that the tall foreheads became convinced black quarterbacks actually knew the difference between an X and an O, a go route from a corner route. Even at that, there remain holdouts to this day. The New York Giants, founded in 1925, have never started a black man behind centre. In 92 years.

Apparently, that’s where Newton is re women. In 1925.

Remember, though, this is the guy who was too dainty to get his hands dirty and his uniform wrinkled in Super Bowl 50. He totally flatlined and the Panthers were beaten by the Denver Broncos that day. And to whom did NFL commissioner Roger Goodell present the Vince Lombardi Trophy? Annabel Bowlen. Yup, a woman.

Ain’t it funny how that works, Cam?

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About Vietnam and Las Vegas…a president in Puerto Rico…Tom Petty and the Traveling Wilburys…rude noise on The Voice…learning about Will & Grace…October baseball…and shining in 2019

Random thoughts before the candle goes out and the sun comes up…

I spent the entirety of my Sunday watching the final six installments of the Lynn Novick/Ken Burns documentary The Vietnam War and went to bed emotionally spent and softly weeping.

Such atrocities. Such carnage. Such an unnecessary waste of human life.

I awoke 5 1/2 hours later, at 1:30 a.m. Monday, and clicked on my TV. I began weeping again. Another atrocity. More carnage. More unnecessary waste of human life, this time on our side of the world, in Las Vegas.

You wake up in the morning knowing the world will have changed overnight, but you don’t expect this kind of change. Fifty-eight people taken to the morgue. Approximately 500 whisked away to the ER at five different Vegas hospitals. That’s almost 600 people killed or cut down. By a man who, due to silent voices in his head and a disturbing, horrific sense of right and wrong, took a piece of pure Americana—a country music festival—and buried it in pure evil.

The physical toll is shocking, the worst human slaughter in modern-time United States. The emotional fallout is much greater.

Approximately 22,000 innocent, happy concert-goers are victims. Their friends and loved ones are victims. First responders are victims. Doctors and nurses are victims. Jason Aldean, on stage closing the Route 91 Harvest Festival when bullets from high-powered weapons began to rain down from a 32nd-floor room in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, and other performers are victims.

So the country to the south has been crippled. Again.

The Olympic Mountains

When I look out the main window of my humble home on a clear day, I can see the United States of America. Literally. The Olympic Mountains are off in the distance, standing tall and firm across the Juan de Fuca Strait in Washington state. It’s a peaceful, picture-postcard setting, totally at odds with the chaos, confusion and killings that occur far too often behind them.

It’s easy for us on the north side of those Olympic Mountains to feel smug and say these types of mass murders are “an American thing,” but do we really want to go there? Americans are our neighbors. Our friends. Even if we find them a tad loud and obnoxious when they visit, they’re North American kin.

Besides, it’s not like we’re immune to the depravity of minds that either snap or plot evil in Canada.

It was only nine months ago, remember, when a young man strolled into a Quebec City mosque and opening fired. By the time he walked out of the Islamic Cultural Centre, six people lay slain and another 19 were wounded.

It’s all so sad.

One of four students dead in Ohio.

The Vietnam War documentary, which aired on PBS, is a superb, enlightening and gripping work from Novick and Burns. It is a harsh reminder of the violence that prevailed during the 1960s and early ’70s—it definitely wasn’t all flower power, groovin’ and great rock ‘n’ roll like some Baby Boomers would have you believe—and I’m sure it opened eyes to the shameful deceit, cunning and flat-out criminal activity of people in the White House. The most heart-tugging and tear-inducing segment for me was the sight of students lying on the ground, dead, at Kent State after the Ohio National Guard had gunned them down. Innocent kids, killed by their own government. I can still hear the haunting refrain “four dead in Ohio” in Neil Young’s classic protest song Ohio. Sigh.

Speaking of government, did U.S. President Donald Trump actually tell people in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico to “have a good time” and toss them paper towels? Well, yes, he did. Oh my.

Okay, it’s about Tom Petty. My favorite Tom Petty stuff was the stuff he did with Nelson, Otis, Lefty and Lucky, aka the Traveling Wilburys. Now, with Petty’s passing this week, there are only two of the Wilburys left—Lucky (Bob Dylan) and Otis (Jeff Lynne). George Harrison and Roy Orbison had preceded Petty to the big rock concert in the sky. Petty (Charlie T. Wilbury Jr.), Dylan, Lynne, Harrison and Orbison only recorded one album together —Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1—and it’s brilliant. Those boys could really get after it. There’s a second album (I have the both on vinyl), but Orbison had already left us.

The Traveling Wilburys: Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, George Harrison, Roy Orbison.

My favorite Traveling Wilburys tunes…

  1. Handle with Care
  2. End of the Line
  3. Rattled
  4. Not Alone Any More
  5. Poor House

Gave The Voice a try last week, but, sorry, I cannot watch if Miley Cyrus and Jennifer Hudson are sitting in two of the four judges’ chairs. They both seem to be of the misguided notion that the show is about them, not the contestants. The hokey Adam Levine-Blake Shelton bromance wore thin about six years ago, but Cyrus and Hudson make the show unbearable. Click.

I’m told Will & Grace are back on TV. Hmmm. I didn’t know they had left. So, because I missed them during their first go-round on the small screen, I thought I’d give the new season’s first episode a look-see. I must say, that was a funny show. And imagine my surprise. There are gay characters. Who knew? Must check it out again. (Sidebar: Debra Messing has gorgeous hair. Love the color, which also happens to be my color.)

I love October baseball, even if I don’t have a cheering interest. Actually, I found myself root, root, rooting for the New York Yankees in their wild-card skirmish with the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night. I’m not sure what that means. I mean, I’ve always been an ABTY ball fan—anybody but the Yankees. So why was I cheering for them? I think I need to book some time on Dr. Phil’s couch.

If I was still in River City, working in mainstream jock journalism at the Winnipeg Sun, I’d be required to attend a hockey match this very night between the hometown Jets and the Tranna Maple Leafs and pretend it’s important. I’m glad I’m no longer in River City working in mainstream journalism.

According to my October horoscope, “2019 will be your time to shine.” Excuse me? 2019? What the hell am I supposed to do until then?

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Tick off Queen Liz and the Winnipeg Jets lose their logo

You want to get politics out of sports?

Fine. By all means, let’s do that. And let’s start by instructing the Winnipeg Jets to ditch their Royal Canadian Air Force logo. That’s right. Call graphics. It’s back to the drawing board.

I mean, let’s face it, the Jets logo is nothing if not a political statement. The National Hockey League club’s ties to the Canadian military are so tight I’m surprised they don’t play in fatigues. The Jets even have a nine-page, do-this-and-don’t-do-that contract with the national Defence Department that requires them to abide by certain conditions, the most significant of which is this: Do not dare tick off Queen Liz.

Queen Liz and two of her beloved Corgis.

“The club agrees to use the Winnipeg Jets logos solely in accordance with the terms and conditions of this agreement and in such manner as to protect and preserve the reputation and integrity of Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of National Defence, and the Canadian Forces.”

So there. Queen Elizabeth gets royally PO’d with, oh, I don’t know, let’s say head coach Paul Maurice’s potty mouth, and there’s going to be royal hell to pay. The Jets will lose their logo faster than you can sing “God save Camilla Parker Bowles.” No more CF-18 Hornet, no more awkward-looking Maple Leaf, no more navy blue-and-grey roundel. And those shoulder patches with the RCAF wings? Gonzo alonzo.

Now, I realize the odds of the Jets peeing on Her Majesty’s Corn Flakes (actually, she prefers Special K) are remote. She likely spends less time following Patrik Laine than Brent Burns spends in his barber’s chair. Mention Dustin Byfuglien and she’s apt to assume you’re talking about one of her Royal Beefeaters.

And, of course, hockey players are political like Don Cherry is a pinko. They wouldn’t say Donald Trump if their mouth was full of his tweets.

Oh, wait. Jets captain Blake Wheeler did that very thing, didn’t he? He called out the president of the United States. And Tie Domi’s boy Max had some scolding words for Canada from his home base in Arizona, suggesting our immigration laws are weaker than the Coyotes team defence. So who and what’s to say a young guy like Mark Scheifele won’t step up and dump on, say, the Monarchy? That might put a snag in Queen Liz’s royal knickers, don’t you think?

And let’s not overlook the other Royals, most notably those first in queue to the throne—Princes Charlie, William, George and Harry, and Princess Charlotte. If you can’t tick off the Queen, it follows that her boy, her grandsons and great-granddaughter/son are off limits, too.

Don’t mess with the Queen and Camilla’s royal lids.

But that’s the risk co-bankrolls Mark Chipman and David Thomson ran when they chose to crawl into bed with the RCAF and sign that nine-page pre-nupt.

What are the do’s and don’ts of the contract? That’s strictly hush, hush, but we all know how to get Queen Liz’s attention:

  • Tell her Corgis are really, really dumb-looking dogs.
  • Tell her that Camilla will make a much better Queen.
  • Poke fun at the Royal ladies’ hats.
  • Tell Prince Harry that Meghan Markle is a lousy actor and a bit of a skank.
  • Mention that Prince George and Princess Charlotte are cute kids but William and Kate might want to get them to a dentist before it’s too late.

Any or all of the above ought to do the trick.

Silliness aside, if you really want to get politics out of sports, the Winnipeg Jets and their logo must be your starting point. Clip 17 Wing Winnipeg and go from there.


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Can white sports writers tell a black story properly?

The only way you can walk a mile in another person’s shoes is if you can fit into their head.

I mean, those of my vintage can tell young people about the violence, the fears and the music/cultural revolution of the 1960s, but you can’t do Woodstock unless you were at Yasgur’s Farm. You can’t relate to the horrors of a president of the United States being gunned down in broad daylight, half his head blown off, unless you felt the hope that John F. Kennedy gave so many of us in our youth.

I can tell one of my climate-coddled friends here on the West Coast about a Winnipeg winter—I survived about 40 of them before fleeing—but until they feel the harsh, immobilizing, bitter bite of a minus-40C wind chill at Portage and Main they won’t get it.

Similarly, if you aren’t a person of color, can you truly understand what the fuss is all about at sporting events in the U.S.?

It seems to me that the protest movement started by Colin Kaepernick last year and re-activated in his absence by National Football League players numbering in the hundreds this season has veered off-message. That is, I read and hear about the American flag, the Star-Spangled Banner and the U.S. military (as fighter jets roar overhead) daily, yet the plague and evil of racial injustice—which is what taking a knee or raising a fit is about—is lost.

It reminds me of the O.J. trial. It was supposed to be about the double murder of O.J. Simpson’s ex-wife and her friend. Instead, the trial was hijacked by high-priced barristers in $1,500 suits who took it in an entirely different direction and made it about racism, in large part because of a racist Los Angeles cop, Mark Fuhrman.

In the case of the NFL players’ protest of racial injustice and police brutality against black people in America, we can’t blame Johnnie Cochran, F. Lee Bailey, Alan Dershowitz or celebrity mouthpiece Robert Shapiro for the misdirection of topic. We might look at the messenger, though.

In the week-plus since U.S. President Donald Trump went off the rails in Alabama and began ranting about any “son of a bitch” NFL worker who kneels during the American national anthem should be “fired,” I have read numerous newspaper articles about the pre-game protests and, almost without exception, the writer was white.

Now, I understand that racism is an everybody issue. At least it should be. But if it’s black people being targeted and (mostly) black people doing the protesting, why are white people telling the story?

Because sports scribes are white.

I mostly read Canadian newspapers and sports journalism (newspaper print division) at the elite level in the Great White North is exactly that—a group of great white northerners. As a collective, our sports writing is whiter than a saint’s soul. It’s whiter than NASCAR. Whiter than the National Hockey League. Yet the flowers of jock journalism on this side of the border wax philosophically about the non-diversity of the NHL vis-a-vis the players’ unwillingness to take a knee alongside their NFL, National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball brethren.

So I ask this: How credible can white sports journalists be when covering racially charged stories if they are not of the issue? How about women’s stories? LGBT stories? How many stories will they miss because they lack the cultural knowledge to ask the meaningful questions of black or gay athletes?

When the openly gay football player Michael Sam appeared in the Montreal Alouettes lineup in a game vs. the Ottawa RedBlacks in August 2015, one of the country’s prominent jock journalists, Steve Simmons of Postmedia, denied it happened.

In reality,” Simmons scribbled, “pro football still awaits its first openly gay player.”

It was an astonishing piece of rejective writing. There existed unassailable evidence that Sam had been on the field for 12 plays. A sellout crowd and a national television audience would testify to that under oath. Yet Simmons stood firm.

I don’t think it will be remembered,” he said on TSN’s The Reporters with Dave Hodge.

When baseball player Kevin Pillar or hockey player Andrew Shaw call a foe a “faggot,” Canadian scribes deliver, at best, a politcially correct comment then move on like there was never anything to actually see. That’s because they aren’t gay and they don’t see and feel the hurt.

Chris Hine, however, can write from, and to, the very heart of the matter, because the Chicago Tribune hockey scribe is openly gay. As are a few other jock newsies in the U.S.

Some of the sports scribes in Canada can pull it off. Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star, for example, has a high social awareness quotient. He wrote a terrific piece on the current protests as it relates to black players in the NHL. It had feeling. It conveyed the loneliness of the NHL’s few blacks working in a white man’s world. A good writer can do that, regardless the issue, simply by talking to those who live the issue.

Overall, though, the highest level of Canadian sports writing is a sea of white faces, the most non-diverse group in mainstream media (no blacks, no gays, one woman) delivering a message about racial injustice. And it isn’t much different in the U.S.

Little wonder the protest story has lost its way.