I'm going to be brutally honest: There are days when sports media, both local and national, make me exceedingly angry -- moments where I want to distance myself from them, and times when I don't want to admit I'm one of them, even if the status I hold is in a miniscule capacity.
Last Thursday and Friday were perfect examples.
Late last week, both Ottawa dailies mentioned and questioned the decision made by Senators fans to boo 19-year-old Penguins star, Sidney Crosby. One reference was decidedly more prevalent than the other, and went so far as to chastise the Ottawa fans for their so-called "classless" behaviour.
The reasons provided? Crosby is "a superstar." He's "clean-cut." He's "nice."
You could say the same thing about Peyton Manning, Tiger Woods or Alex Rodriguez. They're not universally adored, either. Funny that.
Why boo Sidney Crosby? Here's a better question -- why not?
In spite of the media's perpetual insistence for NHL fans to fall at the feet of a pseudo-deity from a Pennsylvanian franchise, there will always be a number that refuse, and their reasons are as varied as they are relevant.
Some dissenters are irked by his attitude on the ice (although to be fair, there's been a marked improvement in that department). Others take issue with Crosby attaining the Penguins' leadership reins. They think it's too much, too soon. Many simply don't find Crosby to be a likeable player, in the same fashion as the other athletes referenced above.
SURE, HE'S TALENTED
No one is arguing the fact that Crosby is talented. We get it and we respect it. But he embodies the Senators' opposition in a single player and the media are largely to blame for propagating this image beyond massive proportions.
Does Crosby outwardly make an effort to broadcast this perception? His comments from last week indicate otherwise: "It's not me vs. the Senators. It's our team. We're not going to get anywhere without a group," Crosby staunchly stated Friday.
If Sens fans are constantly reminded of the prominent role that Crosby holds as a Penguin, why shouldn't they show their displeasure?
Furthermore, can someone explain how Crosby can be described as "mature" and "wise beyond his years," but when criticism arrives in the simplest of forms en masse, he is referred to as a "boy?"
He isn't a child, being pummelled by bullies sporting red, black and gold. He doesn't require protection or leniency from critics, simply because he's a gifted player under the age of 20.
To state so suggests a separate standard being created for the phenom -- revered and worshipped, high atop a lofty perch free from negativity and critique. Something tells me that No. 87 would be the first person to vehemently disassociate from such a scenario.
Where is this thought process coming from?
The irony is astonishing. How can anyone point out the indifference maintained by Ottawa crowds, yet criticize them when they take initiative and allow their voices to be heard (literally) during a nationally televised playoff game?
The purchase of a ticket allows the consumer to express themselves within reason, positively and negatively, toward the opposition and their own team.
Personally, I take no pleasure in any feeble attempts to defend Ottawa's placid past crowds to the critics -- did you see the arena participation in Vancouver and Nashville last week?
Crosby is widely considered to be the best player in the league. He's an Einstein On Ice -- the epitome of everything positive the NHL wants its image to be. Unfortunately, not everyone is going to like him. Not everyone has to, especially when they're watching his team face their own in the post-season.
Why boo Crosby if you're a Sens fan? He's a Penguin. What other reason do you need?