In case you haven’t heard, Philadelphia Flyers captain Mike Richards is a little upset with the Philly media right now, claiming they’ve thrown him under the bus for the Flyers’ dismal season thus far (most places would just lay blame, but Philadelphia, being the tough town it is, apparently shoves people under moving vehicles).
Talk suggests Richards’ command of the city nightlife (Google “Mike Richards” and “party”) has become legendary, which, according to what the local scribes have to say at least, kind of gets in the way of all his on-ice duties, as if inebriation (speculative) somehow impairs both your leadership abilities and your ability to stand up on skates.
We could probably argue this particular case until the cows come home – and in an urban center like Philadelphia that could be a while – but what’s really up for debate here is exactly what about a professional athlete’s personal life is open for discussion? Are there limits? Do we deserve to know, for example, that a certain Canucks right winger has an odd clown fetish (he actually plays for Phoenix and he’s a center)?
There has to be rules and limitations. Someone has to lay down the law and decide what is and isn’t open for public consumption and since no one else seems to have his hand up as an eager volunteer...
Family background: As much as I’d love everyone to know Danny Briere was raised by apes (until age six) or Miikka Kiprusoff and Jay-Z are cousins, this is really not something fans need to know unless you’re in a hockey pool and you’re allowed to pick an ape. Ruling: Off Limits
Legal Troubles: Hockey is just a microcosm of society. There are rules in hockey and there are rules in society, each with their own set of punishments. Thus the subjects are transferable. If Player A has a habit of smacking patrons around at bars then, chances are, he has no trouble doing the same on the ice (with the requisite role-playing of course) and if Player B has severe back tax issues, I’m guessing he’s also very evasive on the ice as well. Ruling: Fair Game
Blood Type: Knowing that Georges Laraque and I share the same blood type is, like what, a 45-second conversation? Unless you’re his doctor, his trainer or his kidney, you don’t need to know this. Ruling: Off Limits
Marital Woes: At first glance, why is it any of my business if, say, Sheldon Souray is having issues with the mother of his children? Does it affect me? Hell ya. Even though he makes in one shift what I might make by age 63, it’s comforting to know the prick of marital thorns is universal. Hugs. Ruling: Fair Game
Drug/Alcohol Problems: We all know intoxicants severely inhibit your ability to (a) talk (b) tell time (c) stay upright (d) solve algebra problems and (e) operate heavy machinery. But nowhere have I seen any studies linking inebriation to bad hockey skills. Ruling: Off Limits
Body Issues/Grooming Habits: If Marian Hossa has a tattoo of Elmer Fudd on his pelvis, I want to know about it. A guy can run out of things to yell while at the rink pretty quickly. Ruling: Fair Game
Fashion Sense: I couldn’t care less that Shane Doan wears a boa. Ruling: Off Limits
Political Leanings: Did you know Jarome Iginla is a Communist or that Henrik Sedin is a devout Republican, yet Daniel Sedin is a card-carrying member of the Granola Party? I like to know when my right wingers are left wingers. Ruling: Fair Game
Dating Life: How does Jarret Stoll dating a succession of supermodels affect me? It’s the same principle as knowing Roger Federer drives a Ferrari. I may never sit behind the wheel... Ruling: Fair Game
Sex Life: What happens in the bedrooms/hallways/closets/garages/Wal-Mart changerooms of the world is no business of mine. Then again, if Player C has a very adventurous libido...gives a whole new meaning to the term “two-way player.” I’ll allow it. Ruling: Fair Game
Charlie Teljeur, creator of THN's hockeysockpuppettheatre cartoon, brings you the humor column Loose Change every Tuesday. Subscribe to The Hockey News today to have Charlie's cartoon delivered to you in each issue.
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