Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Brad Fay responds

In the comments section for the 'Say what now?' post below, Sportsnet's Brad Fay has responded.

I am coping his unedited words here, so his response can be viewed by a maximum amount of readers.

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


Andrew Bucholtz said...

Good for Brad for offering that response/apology. Personally, I think it would be bloody difficult to be in front of a camera that long without screwing up somewhere along the line (and at least he didn't pull a Ron Burgundy/Charles Barkley teleprompter mixup). It's not exactly easy to draw the line between humour and offending people, especially when you're thinking on the fly, and usually all humour offends someone. I agree that his comment went too far, but I hope that the reaction it provoked doesn't keep sports anchors from trying to lighten the mood: a show that just gave the highlights, the scores and the facts without any personal touches would be far too boring for me to watch.

Tyler King said...

Okay, I've kept to myself on this issue but the fact that the guy has had to come on here and make a plea for sanity is just too much at this point.

This whole issue on this site has read like a cheap ploy for readership and self-congratulation over what was seriously an incredibly minor remark that nobody took nearly as much offence as this blog did.

Going as far as calling the guy a "pig" for that is just as unnecessary as his original comment was.

I'm speaking here as someone who's been accused of sexism for far less, but seriously, you guys could have talked about the fundamental inequality in the sports media, the differing treatment of athletes in the public light - instead all we get is endless fretting over a minor comment. I used to enjoy how this blog *differed* from the MSM.

sager said...


First off, your dissent is appreciated. However, if you're not giving us a free pass (and we don't ask for one), then don't begrudge us holding someone else's feet to the fire.

It just so happens there's a study out from a professor at a major U.S. university who finds, "when female athletes are portrayed off the court, instead of portraying them as the classy girl next door they are sexualized in ways that bear an alarming resemblance to soft-core pornography."

That's where I'm coming from as a sports fan whose mother and sister have been active as athletes and remain so as fans. I agree, the point is not to do a takedown on one on-air person for one faux pas — it's to let it be down that this crap doesn't pass muster on this man's sportscast.

On Duane's end, he called attention to a major faux pas by a sports anchor on a national network — which lends itself is a discussion of the fundamental inequality in the sports media and the differing treatment of athletes in the public light. We were well within our jurisdiction to do so, especially since it was not something that was likely to be commented upon anywhere else in the Canadian media.

Brad Fay took the time to explain how it unfolded, and gave us a window into how his mistake occurred. Hopefully people got a little understanding into how these things happen.

We haven't grandstanded. We simply acted as a watchdog. If people want to shoot the messengers, I can't stop them.

I await your presence at our panel on Fundamental Inequality in the Sports Media — make sure you bring the music, we'll need something to drown out the sounds of chirping crickets. You see my point?

Rest assured that any self-congratulatory behaviour has been merely tongue-in-cheek, in the style of Stephen Colbert and other commentators who are way more talented than us.

sager said...


Just wanted to add that sucks that you were accused of sexism, but when people at university try to hit you with the Ism Stick, consider the source.

Tyler King said...

Actually, now that I think of it better, it wasn't me but a fellow programmer. For using the word "feisty", which was apparently sexist. Yeah.

Anyway, didn't realize your email to me was just a shorter version of that comment, so I'll just repost what I said in an email reply in slightly different fashion.

That article you linked to is a far better take on the topic than whinging every five minutes about an off the cuff comment.

I'm not giving you a free pass because you guys won't let it go (hence I waited until the third post to say anything). If Brad Fay had made that comment a catchphrase I'd think differently. But you guys have made zero effort to address the issue in any way broader than Fay's offhand remark.

That whole "crickets chirping" thing is a cop-out - if you cared about that you guys wouldn't have posted about cricket (no pun intended) or devoted such a brain-bashingly high percentage of posts to soccer. Not to mention you yourself Neate have had a bevy of well phrased commentaries on the ills of the mainstream media. Yet with this issue we can't go past "Look what Brad Fay said! Look what we did! Look at how Chris Zelkovich talked to us! Look how much of a pig Brad Fay is! Look how Brad Fay commented on our blog! We're so cool!"?

And finally, I'm the son of a female athlete too. It doesn't make any difference on the issue.

sager said...

So are we at the stage of "My mom could outrun your mom" now, or what? :)

Anyway, we're past it... we did the post. Zelkovich thought it was serious enough to rate a mention in his column — you'd be flattered to get that attention from such a seasoned sports columnist — and we felt that we were OK to take a victory lap.

Mr. Fay replied. It was fair to him and readers who might have thought we went too far to give it prominent play.

We're not perfect. We're not angels and we're not altruists. Sure, we want traffic. I apologize if it seems like it was a cheap ploy, but it was not intended as such. If an ESPN anchor made the same "blowing Clay" remark, it would be an issue in the States. Why shouldn't we as Canadians hold the best and the brightest in the sports media to the same standard, while being polite about it?

I'm also fully aware of the irony of leaving a long-winded comment to explain how I'm letting this go, so don't bother pointing that out.

Tyler King said...

When Tiger Woods insulted hockey, you said "This is also a great jumping-off point for a debate".

Yet the only insight into the issues raised by Brad Fay's regrettable comment is linked to in the comments after someone broke with the posted consensus.

I'm just sayin.

Dennis Prouse said...

Brad would have been far better off issuing a real apology, instead of that long, rambling, Clinton-esque non-apology apology. I am not calling for the guy to be hauled off to a re-education camp or anything, as it really wasn't THAT big a deal, but he did deserve to be called out for crossing the line. Upon ackowledging that he crossed the line, a simple apology would suffice.

sager said...

Fair enough, and this might come as BS, but I had a post planned linking to said story. This might be cop-outish, but keep in mind this is just a hobby for me.
As a matter of fact, I'm even attending to this when I'm 45 minutes from deadline for my actual job.

I'm not saying that to garner pity, I'm just trying to make it understood that sometimes I do fall short in the face of rigorous examination. That's gonna sound like an excuse, but it's my reality.

Tyler King said...

Hey, it's not you who started the whole thing on the blog, Neate. I don't see why it should be your sole responsibility that it include some form of legitimately valuable insight.

sager said...

It's 'we,' not 'me.'

Duane Rollins said...


The first post was to point out the actual remark.

The second was to show how it had been picked up.

This post was made in an effort to be fair to Fay. He took the time to respond, I felt it was important that his words be read (and I felt they would be lost in the original post).

I'm not going to apologize for making the post. I strongly disagree with your contention that I've been grandstanding. As you have indicated, this place marches to its own beat--if we were only interested in driving traffic, we'd likely be the ones making the innuendos.

The comment was wrong. Period. We pointed it out. Now, we will likely drop it--unless there is a legitimate reason to follow-up again.

Mikey said...

All I hope is that we don't go back checking the late-night transcripts of highlights on the Score.

Tyler King said...

It's nice to act as though it was just a quick mention, a principled stand, and then a decision to move on, but it wasn't. This has been squeezed for everything that was left in it and constantly bumped to the top of the page.

I'm not contesting whether it was worthy of being posted in the blog. It's interesting, though, that one comment early in this thread talks about how uninteresting a discussion of the actual underlying issues would be, while a later one denies being focused on "driving traffic". That's one of the reasons I'm not too big on the whole we not me concept Neate's suggesting.

This whole issue was an opportunity for some form of legitimate/insightful/provocative commentary - one of the previously regular features that I, and I can only assume many other readers, were drawn to this blog for. Instead it was a point and yell show that just wouldn't go away. Now it is going away, but that doesn't excuse the way it was handled.

Duane Rollins said...


The comments section sat with *four* responses for five days. There was plenty of opportunity for any reader to use it as a jumping off point to have a debate about sexism in sport. As you've rightly pointed out it was an off-the-cuff comment. I drew attention to as an example of a larger trend that I see in sports broadcasting. I did not seek out attention beyond this blog. I responded to an inquiry, but I did not initiate it.

You don't think it should have received as much attention as it did--fine. That's your opinion and you are entitled and encouraged to voice it. But do not tell me what my motivations were for posting it because you don't have a ****dam clue what they were.

Tyler King said...

I don't recall much mention of any "larger trend that I see in sports broadcasting". If there was, it definitely wasn't a focus. Seems like revision to me.

And let the record show that I wasn't the one to resort to censored expletives. Though shouldn't there be three asterisks? What four letter word comes before dam?

Still better than the "pig" label that got applied to Fay - that's probably what surprised me the most, since this blog is usually pretty clean in its criticisms, or if not, it's played to humorous effect, which this definitely wasn't.

sager said...

Six comments criticizing the overkill committed by writing three posts on the same subject? Let's focus on the awesomeness of that, not so much the irony.

Duane Rollins said...

This is what you are referring to:

"Hey Sportsnet: You can be edgy without being a pig"

I didn't say Brad Fay is a pig. I was implying that, in this case, his behaviour was pigish. It was. If you read my comment to him, you'll see that I'm not out to hang him. But, I don't think its at all justifiable to make a fellatio joke about the world's No. 1 female tennis player.

From the original post:
"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."

When I wrote those words that was as far as I expected this to go. Really, Tyler, it was. Again, I did not seek outside attention. And following-up on the progression of something you've reported on is journalism 101.

For the life of me I can't understand how giving Fay unedited space to state his position is in anyway grandstanding. Do you not think he deserved to have his response read?

Tyler King said...

Two sentences about the broader issue. Nothing compared to the endless whinging about the comment.

I don't know if it's even worth debating this new "I didn't call him a pig, I called him pigish" stance. I mean, come on, it was pretty clear.

sager said...

What's next, Tyler, are you going to give us a list of technical errors regarding the so-called silent propulsion system in The Hunt for Red October?

(I'm a fine one to make CBG references, given my body type.)

Jeff Dertinger said...

Like sands through the hourglass...

(I think the real dispute here has nothing to do with the Brad Fay comment.)

Tune in next week, when the catfight moves to the pool!

Dennis Prouse said...

The original point was, as I see it, that Brad Fay's comment was, a) over the line, and b) indicative of a larger trend towards the Howard Stern-ification of sports broadcasting in order to attract a certain coveted demographic. Instead of going overboard on point a, we should focus on the undeniable truth of point b. Just listen to sports talk radio anywhere in the country -- they are now getting away with content that they wouldn't have dared roll out even five or six years ago. There is no question that in the battle to retain relevance and audience, and in the quest for that elusive "casual fan", true sports fans are having to endure a painful dumbing down of sports broadcasting. That's the real issue here - Fay's comment was just an illustration of a much larger debate.