You probably know Chris Jones from Esquire, Grantland, or his busy Twitter feed, but it's his column in ESPN: The Magazine that has ticked off legions of his countrymen. Jones, like the angry mob needlessly chasing him online yesterday, is Canadian.
Here's what he wrote, in his since-amended ESPN article:
"Stadiums have never saved cities. In fact, you're about to witness the Montreal Massacre, Part II, only on a far grander, even more heartbreaking scale."
In Canada, "Montreal Massacre" refers to the shooting of 14 women at the École Polytechnique in 1989, a high-profile hate crime.
But in ESPN Mag context, Jones is not referring to any kind of shooting but rather coining an alliterative name for current Marlins owner/Expos then-owner Jeffrey Loria's hijacking of the team. (Loria bought the Expos as his entree into baseball, and then he dumped them into MLB's hands to take over the Marlins when Marlins owner John Henry bought the Red Sox. Once MLB owned the team, there was no one in power who had any incentive to keep it in Montreal.) Maybe Jones is being imprecise with language—the Expos are but one entity, and "massacre" usually refers to multiple killings—but nothing more than that.
Of course, this didn't stop the Globe and Mail from publishing this silly question for readers on its blog: "Many are giving Mr. Jones the benefit of the doubt. But there are also many who think he should have known better. What do you think?" Ha.
The site also did a full Q&A with Jones which is totally needless but representative of the bad-faith internet culture where every satire is taken seriously, and every clumsy phrase is viewed in the worst possible light. At least, thankfully, this time the Canadians are responsible for it all. Alight from your high horses.