On Wednesday night, Ron MacLean and his CBC production team put together an opening that evoked 9/11 first responders, police and fire fighters in order to portray the bravery and dedication of paid entertainers, aka NHL players.
The rebuke from many after his comments was emphatic, like Jen Connic's post on Rangers Nation. Others made the argument, like Toronto Star columnist Cathal Kelly, that this was outrage for the sake of outrage.
MacLean and CBC put out a statement on Thursday clarifying "what may have been misunderstood" by his comments:
"Washington and New York. The two cities united by the tragedy of 9/11. I, like everyone on the planet in his or her lifetime, saw beyond the horror, the single greatest testament to the strength of the human spirit in the efforts of the first responders", says Ron Maclean.
"We never know if we'll have that spirit. The bravery, the resilience. As I made clear, the hockey games in no way compare. However Sports has proven a worthy training ground in nurturing the qualities which beget that spirit. To say he plays like a firefighter or a policeman would instantly conjure the traits an athlete most desires, especially in New York and Washington. There could be no higher praise of a player, no greater choice of a role model .
"But as I said of first responders, 'Our worst day is their everyday'. They stand alone."
As the great Scotty Wazz put it: "I'm not saying hockey players are like first responders. I'm just saying hockey players are LIKE first responders."
Like we said Wednesday night: His heart was in the right place.
But you know how you can't just crack a guy over the head in a bar with a wooden stick and then expect to sit in a corner for two minutes rather than get arrested? That's because there's a place called the "real world" that's separate from the hockey world.
So as much as Brad Richards has played really, really well in the Eastern Conference semifinals, and sometimes even into triple-OT, he's not a [expletive] firefighter.
We live in an apology culture that I really can't stand most of the time. I think people get off on how pressure via social media or consumer movements can force an offending party to apologize or take more dramatic action.
That said, this was a clarification. Which means police and firemen apparently rank below Alex Burrows on the contrition scale.
Ron MacLean, with Don Cherry by his side, spoke to the Canadian Press to clarify his comments even further:
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