This week’s column will have very little to do with actual football. I blame the bye week and the internet for this. Yes, bye weeks are important and I support all measures done to keep players safe, but it sure makes it difficult to write something of meaning when both games last week were won in convincing fashion.
Montreal’s win over Winnipeg was predictable, and beyond the Lions’ pass rush and the continuing evolution of Chad Owens there really wasn’t much of an interest in that penalty fueled affair. Of course, it would have been nice to have been able to see the entire game from the comfort of my home, except that my internet provider decided that sometime between the Women’s Canada vs. U.S Olympic soccer match, and the start of the Argonauts vs. Lions game would be the perfect time to wipe out all TV and internet services from my area.
I called once and they said it would be fixed in “a short period of time.” I called back two hours later and was directed to their sales division. It’s nice that certain stereotype about giant monolithic companies and their complete lack of customer support is alive and well. Makes me feel comfortable that is all is normal in the world.
I want to talk about bias. During the always entertaining and brilliantly executed TSN CFL halftime show the question was brought up to the panel: Do you root for certain teams? There was a grab bag of answers with Doug Brown, honestly and rightfully saying that he does root for the Blue Bombers.
Personally I’m fine with that. I’d be uncomfortable if a recently retired player didn’t want his former team to win. How could he not considering all the life experiences and extreme emotional highs and lows he would have experienced with that organization? In fact I find it disingenuous when a former player says he is now completely neutral. Feels a little dishonest, now doesn’t it?
Ideally speaking, I want the broadcasters calling the game to be absolutely neutral and the guys in the studio to have a mix of non bias to wildly biased but still informative and intelligent.
That’s why I appreciated Glen Suitor stating unequivocally that he does not favour one team over another. The reason for this is when I’m watching a game at home; I’m stuck with whoever the colour and play-by-play guys are. I have no choice but to listen to what they have to say. There is nothing worse than watching your team knowing there is a clear and present bias.
Oh wait, there is one example that is worse, when your team is losing and being forced to hear those two clowns chuckle at your team’s misfortune while you can practically hear them high five one another in the background. Ugh. Just ruins the game and forces you to mute the entire broadcast.
But for everyone else on the TV, side I say some bias is a good thing. It really is just human nature. Isn’t it more fascinating to hear a Hall of Fame quarterback turned broadcaster pop off on a player he doesn’t like? Aren’t you more interested when we media types take sides? Fair and balanced gets kind of boring. It’s fine for the moderator in a political debate but not when your deciding whether or not Jovon Johnson needs a bit of an attitude adjustment.
For local radio, don’t get me started. I’m cool with a pronounced difference in decibel level for a touchdown call for the home team vs. a more subdued approached when the visiting team scores. But when homerism gets out of hand, it leads to an unbearable call filled with false accusations towards the refs and C-minus humour.
I want local flavour, I want fun I just don’t need constant whining and pumping up off players that are not deserving.
Now on the print side. I love strong opinions and rampant bias, as long as it is backed up with the proper research and still is presented in an intelligent manner. Isn’t that why we read our favourite columnist and editorials? The beauty is, if you don’t like a certain writer just don’t read his or her work, you have a choice. But again a strong opinion, fueled with a healthy amount of bias and wit always makes for a more entertaining read than a “well there are two sides to any story” approach.
At this point it needs to be said that most of us in the media are not rooting against “your” team. Despite what you may think we do not wish ill on any of the eight franchises in this league.
I know this sort of paranoia can get out of control especially in the smaller communities and I get it.
Smaller towns have a chip on their shoulders when it comes to their relationship with the bigger markets. That makes sense. It’s why most Canadians have some resentment towards our bigger brother to the South. Well just remember, Americans don’t know how to make a Cesar and they don’t sell Smarties. But I can assure you that we are not secretly wishing for the down fall of any team.
Yes, I wear my emotions and my loyalties on my sleeve. I am an Argo fan but that does not stop me from marveling at the consistency of the Alouettes, the growth of Travis Lulay, still feeling regret about the 13th man or being bummed out by the injury of Drew Tate. I want the entire league to succeed I just want the double blue to succeed a little bit more.