Kaep is Citizen One, Blake Shelton is the Sexy One, but will Donald Trump be Time magazine’s No. 1 or will it be fake news?

So, GQ has decided that none of the United States’ 323.1 million citizens has better cred than Colin Kaepernick, thus he’s the magazine’s Citizen of the Year.

Well, okay. Let’s all take a knee. Or not.

I mean, GQ’s anointing an out-of-work football player as America’s preeminent person has earned nods of approval yet, at the same time, the salute has tweaked some beaks, including that of a lass named Britt McHenry, an out-of-work Sideline Barbie who harbors the misguided notion that we should care what she thinks.

A joke,” was the former ESPN gab girl’s rebuke of Kaepernick as Citizen One.

That barb, in turn, inspired author and New York Daily News columnist Linda Stasi to describe McHenry as the “whitest woman on the planet” and, upon further review, the ruling on the field is confirmed—Britt McHenry is Caucasian.

All of which tells me that we have officially arrived at the silly season, during which various publications laud notables and bestow upon them high hosannas, earned or otherwise.

GQ declared Kaepernick to be Citizen One due to the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback’s kneeling stance against social/racial injustice and police brutality in the U.S., writing, “His determined stand puts him in rare company in sports history: Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson—athletes who risked everything to make a difference.”

Yes, I agree, comparing Kaepernick to Ali and Robinson rates extremely high on the silliness scale.

Ah, but silliness knows no limits and, for confirmation, we need only peek at the cover of People magazine where, staring back at us with a goofy grin, is Gwen Stefani’s main squeeze and buffoon-in-residence on The Voice, Blake Shelton.

The cowboy crooner, whose record sales far outstrip his talent, is People’s choice as the Sexiest Man Alive (we can assume that Miranda Lambert didn’t get a vote). Imagine that, approximately 3.8 billion men on earth and not one of them has a higher sexy quotient than a hillbilly who walks and talks like he got lost on his way to the set of Hee Haw. If Shelton was a character from the old Andy Griffith Show, he’d be Goober or Gomer, the witless gas jockeys. Or he’d be part of the banjo-pluckin’, jug-blowin’ Darling clan from back in the hills. Every time I hear him speak, I want to order a jug of moonshine. But, hey, apparently that’s sexy. Who knew?

Blake Shelton would fit in nicely with this bunch—the Darlings.

When people think of Blake, they don’t focus in on abs or a pretty face or what not, like a typical sexy man, but what really wins you over with him is about how down to earth and funny and how sweet he is,” says People staff scribe Melody Chiu. “He’s really exactly what you see on TV. He’s so relatable and he’s so friendly. He just really wants people to love him.”

Aw shucks and gosh darn. If our Blake ain’t just the sweetest boy you ever did see. Doesn’t he just want to make you reach out and pinch his dimples and have his babies, girls?

So what does Shelton think of his coronation as Sexiest Man Alive?

I can’t wait to shove it up Adam’s ass,” he says.

Oh, my. And, to think, sexy Blake kisses Gwen Stefani with that mouth.

At any rate, we now await the Time magazine Person of the Year declaration and, depending on which bookie you go to for your betting odds, the latest lines list Donald Trump, Kaepernick and French President Emmanuel Macron as the favorites. Should U.S. President Trump get the nod, he’ll be the first repeat winner since former White House crook-in-residence Richard Nixon in 1971 and ’72.

If either Kaepernick of President Macron win, it’s fake news.

Blake Wheeler and other NHLers have a voice…who knew?

I’m not black, I don’t live in the United States and I no longer drive a car, so I cannot relate to being pulled over by a cop pointing a gun at me.

I’ve been pulled over by cops, to be sure. On numerous occasions.

Once it was for a faulty left headlight. On another occasion it was for a broken tail light. An illegal left turn in downtown Toronto earned me a brief lecture from a cop. And a ticket. A heavy foot on the gas pedal while travelling down Gateway Road in Winnipeg got the red lights flashing behind me. And another ticket. And, of course, there have been check stops by cops seeking to get drunk drivers off the roads (two in one night, actually). No tickets there.

Never, however, have I been stopped due to the hue of my skin.

I believe that’s called white privilege.

I never asked for white skin. I never asked to grow up in a white neighborhood populated by Catholics and Protestants. I had no black or Jewish friends. Other than when jazz musician/dancer Delbert Wagner broke bread with us in our home on Melbourne Avenue in Winnipeg, or the family visited Percy and Zena Haynes’ Chicken Shack on Lulu Street, the only black or Jewish people I ever saw were on TV.

Oddly enough, Sandy Koufax, a Jewish man, was my favorite baseball player and the elegant Wilma Rudolph, a black woman, was the athlete I most admired. Floyd Patterson, a black Catholic, was my favorite boxer until Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali, a black Muslim. My favorite singers were Barbra Streisand, a Jew, and Frank Sinatra, a mobster.

Talk about a mixed up white Catholic kid.

Wilma Rudolph

At any rate, I was raised in a very white culture that included heavy involvement in hockey, the whitest team sport in North America, if not the world. I never had a black teammate. There was only one black player in the National Hockey League during my youth—Willie O’Ree. He broke in with the Boston Bruins in 1958, playing two games that year and another 43 in 1960-61. Today—depending on opening-night rosters—approximately 30 of the 700-plus NHL players are black. That’s four per cent.

So, anyone thinking hockey players would plunge into the social discussion about racial injustice in the U.S. is quite misguided. I suspect many NHLers don’t see it as their fight because they, like myself and so many others, cannot relate to being pulled over by a cop wielding a handgun due to the color of their skin. But, more to the point, it isn’t the hockey way.

The hockey way is to scrap fiercely for every inch of ice you can claim, even if it means fisticuffs and a trip to the dentist, but once the final whistle blows you must tow the party line. Don’t make waves or noise. You’re part of a team and, always remember men, there’s no ‘i’ in team. Oh, yes, they’ll deliver cliches like they eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a midnight snack, just don’t expect opinion on anything other than the size of goaltender equipment, video replay and Donald S. Cherry’s most recent rant.

Blake Wheeler

That’s what made Blake Wheeler’s comments the other day so shocking. The Winnipeg Jets captain broke ranks, not to mention an unwritten code, when he called out U.S. President Donald Trump for his “son of a bitch” and “He’s fired!” insult to National Football League players who take a knee in protest of racial injustice on the streets of America.

It’s the First Amendment to our Constitution. The First one!!” Wheeler tweeted. “Regardless of how it makes you feel individually, these are literally the principles the US was founded on. Come on, Mr. President.”

Wheeler, an American, later articulated his thoughts for news snoops.

It just felt right, kind of, to take a stance,” he explained. “Some of the language (Trump) used, referencing NFL players, I think that was kind of the last straw for a lot of guys, whichever way they feel about it, to finally voice their opinion. I think that’s kind of the whole point. That’s the thing that makes America a great country. You’re allowed to have different opinions, you’re allowed to voice those different opinions, you’re allowed to stand up for what you believe in. When you take a side, you want to be cognizant of the fact that there’s going to be people who don’t feel the same as you.”

That’s not the hockey way. Or at least it never used to be.

Paul Henderson

The hockey way is what former NHLer Paul Henderson delivered when asked about the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins accepting an invitation for a photo-op with Donald Trump at the White House.

Well, I was a team player,” he said dutifully. “I think if the captain said we were going—it may not be my choice—but if the captain says we’re going, I’d probably go. If the captain said we weren’t going to go, then I probably wouldn’t go.”

Paul Henderson, a very nice man, is famous for scoring a goal. The goal. He very much disliked the communist Soviets in 1972, but in the case of athletes protesting racial/social injustice in 2017, he’s Switzerland. “I’m not going to take sides on either side.”

That is sooooo hockey.

So it’s refreshing and encouraging to know that there are players like Blake Wheeler, teammate Jacob Trouba and numerous others who have an opinion. Imagine that. Hockey players with a voice of their own. Who knew?

Humble beginnings in a small, second-floor mail room

For those of you, like Amelia, who have asked (and keep asking), yes, it’s true, I once worked as a sports scribe. But please don’t hold that against me. I’ve reformed. I don’t write about jocks anymore. Quit cold gobbler just last week.

I began my journalism career in the mail room of a Winnipeg newspaper in 1969, the same year man first walked on the moon. The moon is still there. The newspaper isn’t. I would lug two, sometimes three, large sacks of mail from the post office across the street to the business office at the Winnipeg Tribune. Twice a day. Then I’d sort it and distribute it to the various departments of the six-story structure. It was my baptism in a career that stretched across three decades, followed by an after-life as a freelance writer/blogger.

I might write a book about it—Mail Room to Menopause: That’s all She Wrote after 45 Years. Here are the gory details…

Winnipeg Tribune—1969-80: Mail room, editorial copy runner, sports reporter.

Covered: Winnipeg Jets in the World Hockey Association and the National Hockey League, Manitoba Junior Hockey League, Western Canada Hockey League, Canadian Amateur Senior Hockey League, Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League, amateur and professional boxing, tennis, high school football, university football, junior football, provincial curling championships, figure skating, auto racing, horse racing at Assiniboia Downs, Manitoba Junior Baseball League, high school track championships, bowling, Canadian national tennis championships…

Toronto Sun—1980-82: Sports columnist.

Covered: Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Argonauts, Toronto Blizzard, North American Soccer League, National Football League, Super Bowl, Grey Cup, Major League Baseball, world championship boxing, world curling championships, minor league baseball, ATP tennis, Virginia Slims tennis, Canadian Open tennis, Canadian Open golf, horse racing at Woodbine, Harlem Globetrotters, 1981 Canada Cup, world junior hockey championships, world hockey championships…

Calgary Sun—1982-85: Sports columnist, sports editor

Covered: Calgary Flames, Calgary Stampeders, Grey Cup, Super Bowl, Pacific Coast League baseball, Pioneer League baseball, World Cup skiing, Stanley Cup final, local tennis, the Brier, Calgary Stampede rodeo, horse racing at Stampede Park, Seniors PGA tournament…

Toronto Star—1986: Sports copy editor.

Winnipeg Sun—1986-99: Sports columnist, Jets beat writer, sports editor (twice)

Covered: Winnipeg Jets, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Winnipeg Goldeyes, the Grey Cup, Super Bowl, Stanley Cup playoffs, world championship boxing, local boxing, the Pan-American Games, horse racing at Assiniboia Downs, the Brier, world curling championships, provincial curling championships, Olympic curling trials, Morris Stampede rodeo, Manitoba Open golf tournament, junior golf, ladies’ Canadian Open golf tournament…


  • Only living sports reporter to cover both the Jets final game in the WHA and first game in the NHL.

  • Only living sports writer to cover Winnipeg Jets’ first rookie training camp in Ste. Agathe, Que.

  • Only sports writer to ever play an official game for the Winnipeg Jets (as a replacement for Patrick Daley in the final exhibition of rookie training camp in Ste. Agathe).

  • Only living sports writer to cover the last three Winnipeg Blue Bombers Grey Cup victories.
  • Only living sports writer to cover the 1975 World Junior Hockey Championships in Winnipeg.

  • One of only a handful of sports journalists to cover the Don Lalonde-Sugar Ray Leonard title bout in Las Vegas.

  • One of only a handful of living Canadian sports writers to cover Muhammad Ali’s final fight in the Bahamas.

  • One of only a handful of Canadian sports journalists to cover Canada’s first World Junior hockey championship gold medal victory, in Rochester, Minn., 1982.

  • Covered Edmonton Oilers’ first Stanley Cup championship.

Major events covered: Super Bowl-6

                                                Grey Cup-10

                                                Stanley Cup final-2

                                                World Hockey Association final-2

                                                World Hockey Championships-1

                                                World Junior Hockey Championships-2


                                                World Curling Championships-3

                                                Olympic curling trials-1

                                                World boxing title fights-2

                                                World Series-1

                                                Special Olympics-1

                                                Canadian Open golf-2

                                                Canadian Open tennis-1

Radio: Color commentary on Winnipeg Jets broadcasts, WHA and NHL; Host of Prime Time Sports on CJOB; daily sports commentary on CJAY in Calgary.

Television: Regular guest on Global late night sports, Sports Hot Seat (Calgary).

Freelance sports writing: The Hockey News (Winnipeg reporter), MVP magazine, Calgary Magazine, Canada History magazine, Tankard Times, Heart Chart, The Huddle magazine, Manitoba Hockey News magazine.

Work has appeared in: Every major daily newspaper in Canada, plus the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Seattle Times, the Denver Post.

Freelance work: Statistician and PR for Canadian Amateur Senior Hockey League.

                               Statistician and PR for Manitoba Junior Baseball League.

Post-mainstream media career: Copy editor, Canwest News Service in Winnipeg.

                                                                    Sports reporter, Victoria News

                                                                    Copy editor, Victoria Times Colonist

                                                                    Freelance writer, Monday Magazine

                                                                    Author of 10 books, including five with sports-related themes and one based in Winnipeg/St-Pierre-Jolys

Writing awards: 2012 Q Award for writing on LGBT issues in Victoria.

In the Community: Represented Winnipeg Tribune and Winnipeg Sun at countless charity functions.

                                         Bi-weekly contributions to Harvest food bank.

                                         Played for West Kildonan North Stars of the MJHL.

                                         Most valuable player in 1969 Greater Winnipeg Minor Hockey Association Juvenile tournament.

                                         Played for various teams in local slo-pitch and fastball leagues.

                                         Coached Peanuts League baseball at Bronx Park Community Club.

                                         Coached Midget hockey team at East End Community Club.

                                         Refereed and umpired kids’ hockey/baseball at Bronx Park.

Now you know the rest of the story.

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