I always feel like, somebody's watching me. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
People can often be like puppies watching a bird in that they all tend to fixate on the exact same thing. Meanwhile another bird is doubling back and is in the process of stealing all their kibble. In short, popular opinion frequently misses the real point.
The bird in question here is Chris Pronger’s latest suspension. Most people, predictably, are zeroing in on the apparent disparity between the punishment given out to star players versus the penalties given to the other cretins with unibrows. Some observers act wildly surprised, as if this violates some sort of eternal law. Truth be told, there is a double standard – in everything. Has been for years. Guys with sports cars tend to get more women, too. No real revelation there. Welcome to the real world.
Meanwhile there’s a helluva lot of kibble being stolen.
Do you realize the only reason Chris Pronger is presently serving an eight-game suspension is due to the sudden discovery of hockey’s Zapruder film? If one camera guy had decided to take an extra-long cigarette break, Anaheim would still have one of the game’s pre-eminent calf crushers in their lineup.
The precedent being set here is simply incredible. The fine line between justice and chaos in sport is now based solely on the number of (working) Pentaxes or Betacams in the building.
Sure, we’ve run through this technological minefield before. We’ve seen standardized camera positions implemented throughout the league to avoid, say, a player – let’s make him a player from Dallas – hypothetically stepping foot inside the verboten crease and, I don’t know, having the Stanley Cup championship hinge on his illegal positioning. But of course, that’s all just theory. That could never happen in real life.
Now we’re being presented with evidence from beyond the established circle of shutterbugs. You think being caught on CCTV stealing office supplies has some dire implications? Imagine the power now wielded by any dolt with a HandyCam.
You only need to look as far as the National Football League this year, where the spying eyes of the New York Jets caught the spying eyes of the New England Patriots, yes, spying. Someone from the Jets was coy enough to take some time off from uploading bloopers to YouTube to see Pats coach Bill Belichick (or one of his cronies) filming another’s (non-sexual) backfield-in-motion. And the Patriots paid for it.
Which leads us to the possible repercussions in this sport. If enough eyes - or view finders - are literally focused on the indiscretions of the other team, who’s to know what they might catch. That means you, the fan, may be the ultimate deciding factor in determining who plays and who doesn’t.
Think about it: 17,000 prying eyes working for the home team on every given night (around 6,000 if you happen to be watching in Los Angeles).
Sounds to me like a heck of a lot of Bring-your-Camcorder-to-the-Game nights at the old Coliseum for the foreseeable future.
The preceding was purely fictional and meant for entertainment purposes only. By entertainment, we mean we hope you laughed while reading it, framing it, or burning it. Any similarities between this and actual events is strictly coincidental and frankly, dumb luck. Remember to remind your lawyer about the made-up part, OK?
Charlie Teljeur, creator of THN's hockeysockpuppettheatre, brings you Loose Change every Thursday only on thehockeynews.com. Subscribe to The Hockey News today to have Charlie's cartoon delivered to you in each issue.
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