It's no secret that local television sports coverage can sometimes tend towards homerism, but from this perspective, what's particularly funny and sad simultaneously is when reporters use their media access to channel their own feelings about the team and disguise it as journalism. This is especially true when they try to portray themselves as stand-ins for all the fans out there (many of whom would probably be more reasonable). One of the most amazing cases in point comes from CTV News Toronto's sports anchor and director Lance Brown, whose "report" on the disappointing season of the NHL's Maple Leafs seems like a combination of Network, A Few Good Men and Anchorman. In fact, Ron Burgundy might do a better job. If you've ever wondered what would happen if you let a message-board ranter into a locker room and filmed the results, check out this video:
Some highlights from Brown's nearly-four-minute rant about the state of the Leafs disguised as an investigative piece:
—"We like to joke about the Leafs not winning, but there's nothing funny about what happened this year, nothing. Ours are the most devoted fans in the country, and they get that crap."
—"You have to hate to win in the NHL, hate your opponent, hate losing. It's become fashion to lose; it's become sickening to watch." (One wonders if he's suggesting that hate is a required character trait for victory, or that successful teams despise winning.)
—"It shouldn't surprise anyone that they didn't show up at the announced time this morning, they didn't show up at all last night and they haven't shown up for the better part of the last 24 years."
—To captain Dion Phaneuf: "You personally, have you provided the leadership a captain of this franchise needs at a time like this?" (Phaneuf's "What do you think?" response is pretty great.)
—Brown's later comment on Phaneuf: "He's dedicated. He tries. He just shouldn't be captain."
—"Do you have an explanation for your own troubles lately?"
—To Luke Schenn: "Luke, what do you tell the fans of Toronto? ... Do you think the fans deserve an explanation?"
—Closing comment: "Defeat does not rest lightly on some shoulders here, but it rests, and resides, and it has for eight years."
While it's hilarious to watch, the view from this corner is that this is some of the worst ambush journalism seen on television since Buddy Wood, and that was a parody. It's not just Brown's fandom talking, either; there are plenty of diehard Leafs fans who don't work in the media, but would be more reasonable and professional in an interview setting than he was here. That's stunning, considering that he's worked for CTV Toronto since 1985 and should definitely know better. Brown may have set out to embarrass the Leafs' organization, but while he's mad as hell, it's doubtful he'd be able to handle the truth; his inability to stay classy means he's the one who should be embarrassed here, and that says something given the disarray the Leafs are in.