Friday, May 30, 2008

Say what now?

This is why we have PVRs. Sometimes you hear a TV announcer say something so outrageously insensitive and absurdly ridiculous that you just have to rewind it to make sure that you heard it correctly.

Sportsnet's Brad Fay announcing highlights of Maria Sharapova's first round match at the French Open (appeared on the 5 p.m. update Wednesday):

"...both players dealing with blowing clay...out there, there is a guy named Clay saying 'YES!'..."

Look, I'm not a prude. I can appreciate the beauty of
Sharapova and I've been known to have impure thoughts about the occasional female athlete--not to mention the girl that works at the Petro Canada down the street. But, come on. Can we not agree that fellatio jokes about the world's No. 1 female tennis player might be a tad bit over the line.

When network's go all "edgy" in an effort to attract the 18-35 male market they aren't giving us boys much credit. They are giving the female athletes even less, if that's possible.


New reality said...

No one...not a fellow sports journalist...would accuse you Rollins of being a prude.
However, with Sportsnet and their 'cater to lowest common demoninator' type of sports journalism - read: Fox Sports - nothing surprises me. And it surprised you?? It shouldn't have, as it comes from the same channel - I'd say network but that might legitimize their so-called BJs pbp guy (LOL, there's another joke besides the team in that one) - that runs the stupid Inbox segment with the token 'eye candy'.
On the other hand, TSN could stop with the never-ending Hedger flirting with the 'other' host.

Krister said...

Reasons for not watching the hockey fights/aka high light shows in the first place. Haven't for years and the more I read what the idiots are doing the less they will draw me in to watch their commercials.

sager said...

Really, we should get organized and start complaining to the advertisers on Sportsnet Connected. It's one thing to have a SUNshine girl, but that's going way too far.

Robert C. said...

And I roll my eyes at Sportsnet again. Just reeks of desperation, but this is the station with those Deal or No Deal models during their trade deadline show in 2007. Which made me laugh since it was so dumb.

Franklin said...

Is that all he said.
The way Zelkovich left it wide-open, would make you think he went way beyond that.
First off, it's a very funny comment -- you people need to relax (especially when you have thw words "wet dream" in one of your own headlines above).
Secondly, the real irresponsible journalism here did not come from Sportsnet, but rather The Star.
Again, by not printing what Fay actually said (which for the majority of us would set off a chuckle, not an alarm bell) he left it to the imagination of the reader. Very very unfair.

sager said...

Learn to read, pal.

The words "wet dream" do not appear in a headline anywhere on this site. When it's done in the text with a strike-through as Duane did, it's implied the author knows it's inappropriate.

Your use of the term "you people" is a dead giveaway that you're incapable of accepting any opinion that falls outside your narrow-minded viewpoint. Maria Sharapova, yes, she's good-looking, but she's not there to be the butt of Grade 9 locker-room jokes like the one Brad Fay indulged in last week.

There have to be some standards.

Franklin said...

So you print the word wet and put a slash through it and it makes it alright?
Now we really know the level of reason we're dealing with here.
Absolutely brilliant.
And for the record, if you're in fact aware of what the word means, what Fay said on Sportsnet was pure "innuendo" -- he never actually said anything wrong...especially when you apply the "slash" logic you explained above.

sager said...

Franklin, why don't you go talk to the women in your life -- mom, sis -- and see how they would feel if someone made a crack like that in the context of them just doing their job? Oh, right, it doesn't matter, because that's just what a chick would say, right, and no one's opinion could ever count as much as yours.

By your logic, Brad Fay was completely responsible to use crude, ninth-grade sexual innuendo about a professional athlete; Zelkovich was irresponsible to not repeat it in a newspaper that has thousands of readers with thousands of different thresholds for poor taste. That makes perfect sense.

Again, you feel strongly about this. Call The Star and ask to speak to the sports editors. Report back to us how it went.

Duane Rollins said...


Making a sexual reference to an elite female athlete is completely disrespectful to her talent. Do you really think he'd have made the same comment in regards to Roger Federar?

As for the wet dream wasn't directed at an individual, was it? Do you understand that difference?

Feel free to e-mail me if you have further concerns -

Brad Fay said...

Hey Folks, Brad Fay here.
Someone at work suggested I check this site/post out. Interesting stuff.
First off, let me make it clear that, yes, I did cross the line with my comment -- whether it's an excuse or not, sometimes in the midst of doing three full shows (regional TV) and three updates a day, you fall into a trap of trying to liven it up. Obviously, if this offended anyone, I went too far.

But I also want to explain the way it came about -- it's not like it's something I sat down and thought about, then scripted out etc.
When we're doing a show/update, highlight scripts are handed to us sight unseen. The first line in that highlight pack for me to read -- again sight unseen, as we don't have time to go over scripts with about three hours of live TV to do in a 4-or-5 hour span -- was "both players dealing with blowing clay" in reference to the severe wind at Roland Garros....after I read it, I kind of choked on what I just said, then said "pardon?" then much later in the highlight pack I threw in the line about some guy named Clay.
Again, I am NOT defending it but when it's presented as above on this site -- BOTH PLAYERS DEALING WITH BLOWING CLAY..OUT THERE THERE'S A GUY NAMED CLAY SAYING "YES" -- as essentially one sentence, it certainly comes across much more malicious, so to speak than it was.

Also, I have to agree somewhat with one of the posters who suggested The Star not printing the actual quote is a little unfair.
It amounted to many people (including some of my bosses) assuming I said something far more explicit than I did. When most people (again most, I understand not all) learned what I had actually said, the reaction was certainly much tamer than it might have been otherwise.
I've never had a problem with what Chris Zelkovich writes -- it's his job and he's never treated me unfairly. Just this time I felt the unknown created a bit of a firestorm.
But, ultimately, I understand if I passed on the urge to throw that comment in, we wouldn't be having this discussion

sager said...

Hi Mr. Fay,

We certainly do appreciate that you thought enough of this site to give a full explanation of how it went down. Rollins wrote the posts, so it's probably best to let him have the response.

Duane Rollins said...


Thank you for taking the time to respond. As someone that has worked in media (albeit at a lever far smaller than you currently are), I understand the uniqueness of having your work on public display. The reality is that the majority of people that critique the so-called MSM do so without any understanding of that pressure or responsibility.

My issue, which you appear to understand, is that a sexualized comment directed towards a elite female athlete devalues her accomplishments and abilities. I also think it's far more discouraging for young females to hear those kind of comments than we boys understand. As I indicated in the follow-up post, it's possible to be "edgy" or "entertaining" without crossing a line--Bob McCown does it very well every day, for instance.

I am going to defend how I've written the quote above (which I listened to several times to assure accuracy). By including the ellipsis I have correctly indicated a passage of time. I think you'd agree that about 15-20 seconds passed between the comments. It's my opinion that they were clearly linked. I did not intend to be misleading, nor to suggest that you said it as a complete, fluid sentence.

Obviously,I can't speak for the way Mr, Zelkovich wrote the article. Speaking personally, I agree with the sentiment that it would have been preferable if the full quote had been included, but I do not pretend to know whether it would have been permitted by The Star's editorial guidelines.