Friday, April 1, 2011

PHWA Protest Through NHL Vote

Due to Thursday's game, Jack Hillen, Frans Nielsen and Ty Wishart are all listed as day-to-day. Considering how many "days" there are left to the season, that could mean they have played their last game this year. That doesn't make me very happy.

Also, here is another in my series of the Dee vs the MSM. It certainly won't win me any friends, but it is how I feel so... here goes...

While it may seem admirable for the Rangers chapter of the PHWA to take a vote of 7 – 3 in favor of boycotting the NHL Awards vote, who are they really hurting by doing so? Think about it. While the Rangers contingent of ten writers are only a small portion of the association that Kevin Allen is president of, it seems that the reports tonight are that the Islanders chapter (Katie Strang and WHO?) are joining in the protest and reducing the number of votes as well.

I’ll tell you who that will hurt the most – Frans Nielsen, the League leader in short handed goals and new daddy, Michael Grabner. Thanks. That really helps the cause.

What I don’t understand is why these writers would choose this route when it will hurt them in the long run. If the Islanders do not have enough votes, they will not be represented at the awards and no one outside of the media will really care about the catalyst of the protest. The fans only care about the players they watch and spend money on. Right now the Islanders fans care; really care, about Michael Grabner and Frans Nielsen. THAT’S who they care about.

Additionally, it is not as if a journalist NEVER had their credentials pulled before. If you take the time to search for it, you’ll find numerous accounts of reporters being banned from particular places and even countries. When it comes to sports writers, I found a few that were recent.

Most recently, and most notorious of the lot would be Scott Raab, the Esquire writer banned from Miami Heat games. Brian Allee-Walsh was banned from the New Orleans Saints media room during a Super Bowl. (Um, how many people watch the Super Bowl again? Right) and supposedly, that wasn’t the first or last time the Saints banned a reporter.

In January, there is the curiosity that surrounded Jerome Iginla when the junior team that he is part owner of, the Kamloops Blazers, banned Gregg Drinnan, a local reporter from covering the team due to “negativity.”

In 1995 a NY Post writer, Wallace Mathews was banished from a Mike Tyson public sparring session for being “unfair” to Tyson.

In July of 2007, the NY Yankees revoked a Japanese reporter’s credentials for the horrible act of – asking Roger Clemens for an autograph. He did not get them back.

Revoking of credentials also hits high school sports. It seems a Daily News writer was barred from attending a game that was open to the public at a Coney Island school when the Lincoln Railsplitters were heading to a third straight SAL title – in 2008!

The practice of barring writers also transcends our national borders. Robertson Henry of St. Lucia was banned by the St. Lucia Ministry of Sports to ALL sporting events the award winning Voice reporter would normally cover. It seems he may have punched another reporter.

All I am trying to say is that revoking credentials is nothing new or unique to the Islanders and their situation with an ex-employee. Read the back of them. Any organization has the right to terminate access at any time for any reason, even to public events.

Ever get turned down on a line for a hot night club because they didn’t like your look. It’s legal. So is pulling credentials. The truth of the matter is that just because your job is covering a sporting event doesn’t mean you have the RIGHT to access. Press Credentials are a PRIVILEGE not a RIGHT even if that is your job.

The same way I had a right to deny entry to my restaurant when I owned one, the Islanders or any team at any level have the same right. So while this show of solidarity might make the rest of the PHWA feel they are protecting their own interests, it is probably hurting the hell out of the Islanders being represented at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas in June.

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