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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

The Worst Time To Make Up A Quote From A GM Calling One Of His Players Crazy Is Probably In That Player's Obituary

Illustration for article titled The Worst Time To Make Up A Quote From A GM Calling One Of His Players Crazy Is Probably In That Player's Obituary

Or, anyway, we think that the worst time you can invent a GM's quote calling a player "crazy" is in that player's obituary.

Former Vancouver Canuck and would-be Winnipeg Jet goon Rick Rypien died suddenly on Monday, at the age of 27. Rypien had suffered from depression, as it seems like so many NHL enforcers do now. But, as so many Abilify commercials can tell you, depression doesn't mean you're crazy. And it sure as hell doesn't mean your general manager might as well have called you "crazy" to reporters. Toronto Star staffer Michael Woods doesn't know that!

The Globe and Mail, which is evidently the sensible father of the Canadian media scene, has decided to call The Star out for its gaffe:

The Star's story referred to how the Canucks had treated Rypien's illness: "But general manager Mike Gillis told the Vancouver Sun at the time, 'When you come to know somebody and realize they're a really good person ... but crazy... You don't only support them when they're at the top of their game ... you support them when they're not feeling good about things or have other issues they have to deal with.'"

The Canucks were stunned, because the proper Sun quote did not include the words "but crazy" that appeared in the Star's story. The "but crazy" comment went out in print and early online editions of the Star's sports section (It was later corrected online.) The Canucks fired off a media statement: "A quote used in an article today in the Toronto Star sports section attributed to Mike Gillis is not accurate, not factual and does not reflect in anyway the feelings or level of commitment both Gillis and the organization had for Rick Rypien. Our organization is tremendously saddened by the passing of Rick and the newspaper's choice of words in this article is unfair.


The Star apologized, though without, you know, explaining where the quote might have come from:

An Aug. 16 article about the death of former Vancouver Canuck Rick Rypien misquoted Canucks general manager Mike Gillis as having referred to Rypien as "crazy" in an interview with the Vancouver Sun last November when Rypien took a personal leave from the Canucks. In fact, Gillis never said that.

Oh. Well then.

Now, a slick Vancouver Sun blogger traced the mistaken quote to Wikipedia, which we can sort of understand. (The edit came on July 3 from an American BlackBerry. The same user also repeatedly changed Rypien's middle name on Wikipedia to "Crazyhead.") We all make mistakes under deadline pressure, even those of us who normally work on glamorous beats. Better luck next dead goon. Too bad there'll be more.


Canucks enraged by Toronto Star gaffe [The Globe And Mail]
Apology [The Star]

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