Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mario Pisses Off ESPN

Mario Lemieux is being heavily criticised by ESPN's Scott Burnside for his "self-imposed media blackout" during the Stanley Cup finals. He notes how all the Detroit greats like Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay and Alex Delvecchio have made themselves available to the media and the NHL event staff while reporters can't even get within 20 feet of the "Magnificient One".

"When requests are made to talk to Lemieux, either in a one-on-one setting or in a group format with reporters covering the finals, word politely comes back through the team that the man who is the Penguins' part-owner doesn't want to take the spotlight away from his young team.

What a load of hooey.

This has nothing to do with taking any spotlight away from his players. They have been playing in the spotlight for weeks now. And since
Sidney Crosby became a Penguin three seasons ago, the spotlight has never been far from this Penguins team.

No, this is more about Lemieux's detachment from the game or, at least, detachment from having to share his thoughts and feelings about the game."

- ESPN.Com

Some things never really change.

Wayne Gretzky was able to handle the media with ease throughout his career, even if he mastered the technique of speaking for a few minutes without really saying anything.

Lemieux was always more of a recluse and never seemed comfortable being a spokesperson for the game or the NHL. It always seemed like he had been forced into the spotlight someway or the other, whether it was his heroic battles with cancer or having to take over ownership of the Penguins.

That's not to say that Lemieux is without class. He's always been a gentleman and carries himself with poise and dignity. But he does have a responsibility to help sell the game and granting a few interviews is the least he could do. He is an owner for chrissakes. Instead of getting our cliche interview, we get to watch Mario sip Cabernet Sauvignon in between plays.

It's never a good thing when the biggest sports network in America (ESPN) is complaining about access.


Chuck in PA said...

Mario dosen't owe ESPN or anybody else anything.
We already have enough "experts" telling us about this series and everybody saying what everybody else already knows.
If the man wants privacy now that he no longer plays, it should be respected.

Jeremy Milks said...

I get your point but as an owner and a legendary player, Mario should at least do a token interview. It's not that hard. Everybody else seems to be able to do it including Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky and Steve Yzerman.

Why not Mario? He's well respected and people want to hear from him.