Editor’s Note: I vowed I wasn’t going to write this blog anymore. I was fini. I mean, it’s not like my voice is essential, or that I expect my views to sway opinion. The sports universe can, and will, unfold as it should with or without my two cents worth. But geez Louise, the media mooks have gotten to me. I can no longer ignore them. So I’m back. Sort of. Kind of. This might be a one-off. But I doubt it.
Quiz me this, kids: If a sports writer doesn’t appear to enjoy sports or many of the athletes who play kids’ games, should he be writing about sports and the athletes who play kids’ games?
I agree. He shouldn’t be.
So why hasn’t anyone at Postmedia told Steve Simmons it’s time to sack his bats and go quietly into the night? Maybe find a hobby that doesn’t involve character crucifixion. I mean, the Tranna-based opinionist has fallen into a mosh pit of insulting, callous, demeaning, shameful, dismissive, bitter, unnecessary name-calling commentary. He doesn’t offer opinion so much as he delivers nasty. He isn’t a writer. He’s a hit man.
His latest victims are a fledgling, 19-year-old college kid and a group of amateur athletes who hold down daytime jobs and actually lose money in pursuit of sporting achievement and glory.
The college kid is Cale Makar, who, for reasons yet to be disclosed, reportedly declined an invitation to join the Canadian men’s hockey outfit for a few weeks of frolic at next month’s Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. For this, Simmons, without knowledge of the wherefore and why of Makar’s decision, calls the teenager “a damned fool.” It doesn’t matter if the young defenceman’s determination was based on counsel from his parents, his college leaders or his agent. Apparently a Postmedia columnist knows best. So the kid’s a “damned fool.”
Imagine that. Steve Simmons: Life coach. Who knew? And how utterly objectionable.
But there’s more.
Not satisfied with discrediting a teenager, the Postmedia mouthpiece has also put mixed doubles curling in his crosshairs. Admittedly a quirky event, it debuts as an Olympic discipline in PyeongChang, much to Simmons’ huffy disapproval.
“It’s a recreational pursuit,” he harrumphs from his soapbox of sourpuss stirrings.
“The winner of the men’s and women’s downhill at PyeongChang will get the same gold medal as the winners in mixed doubles curling. Doesn’t sit well with me,” he adds.
Well, excuse our Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris all to hell. The nerve of those two Olympic champions, turning a “recreational pursuit” into an Olympic dream. And, hey, it’ll be such bad manners if they earn the top step on the podium in South Korea and accept gold medals. Can’t have that in the world according to Steve Simmons. Daredevils of the downhill ski slopes are gold-worthy. The curlers? They’re lesser-thans. Give ’em trinkets made of tin foil, right Stevie?
Simmons is such a prig. His commentary is mean in spirit and gratuitous in nature and has become chronic.
On Olympic champion Rosie MacLennan: “She competes in a rather marginal pursuit: Trampoline. When you think Canadian sport, winter or summer, trampoline seems more backyard and gimmicky than it does Olympian.”
On Olympic women’s hockey: “There should be a cry to end this Olympic charade of imbalance.”
On women’s sports: “I don’t believe there’s a demand from the public for women’s sports.”
On mixed doubles tennis: “The event is junk.” (The week Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski won the French Open title.)
On 3-on-3 basketball becoming an Olympic sport: “Somebody out there in Olympic land—or many IOC members—have lost their minds.”
- On players replacing National Hockey League stars on men’s Olympic hockey teams: They’re “also rans.”
As for individuals, Kevin Durant is “gutless,” Venus Williams is “92 years old,” Marcus Stroman is an “annoying kid” who needs to “grow up,” Brooke Henderson also needs to “grow up,” John Farrell is a “traitor,” Phil Kessel is petty and “small,” Roger Goodell is a “flim-flam” man, Chad Ochocinco is a “big mouth,” etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
None of that is necessary, and the steady outpouring of gratuitous cheap shots should be an embarrassment to Simmons and Postmedia.
But no. He insists on wrapping himself in the robes of the villain scribe, assuming them to be garments of honor in a profession that supposedly values the tell-it-like-it-is posturing of the late Howard Cosell. Well, there’s nothing honorable about Simmons’ contrarian shtick. He doesn’t write with the skill, the cheek, the witty irreverence, the knowledge, or the delicate touch of those who came before him or many of his peers today. He comes at the reader with the sledgehammer of the unpolished practitioner, and it’s become tawdry, tiresome and tedious.
And nobody at Postmedia has noticed this? Damned fools.