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The Upper Canadien

Uptown Hockey Tweets, NHLer Leaves

For those who were following the Uptown Hockey controversy earlier this week - and based on internet postings and Twitter that seemed to be many hockey fans -  I figured an update was in order as there have been a couple of interesting developments. I’ll keep it brief, because this Detroit-San Jose game has been phenomenal.

Most of you have probably heard by now that Damian Goddard of Rogers Sportsnet tweeted in support of Uptown Hockey, and was summarily fired the next day. Rogers insists (how convenient) that they had made their decision prior to the tweet, and it had nothing to do with Goddard’s being fired. Goddard has since given interviews to a few media outlets saying that the “truth will come out” and, as far as I know, has not apologized. This is just another example of the age old teaching that I remember well from my kindergarten days: think before you speak. And, in this case, before you tweet. Or Facebook. Or do, well, just about anything in this age of cell phone cameras and social media.

The other news connected with this incident is that, according to various reports on Twitter, Dustin Jeffrey of the Pittsburgh Penguins today dumped Uptown as his representation. I have yet to see it reported by the “main stream” media, but if true, good for him. Jeffrey has apparently opted to go with the respected Pat Brisson and CAA. Many people were interested in seeing whether any players severed ties over the outspoken Todd Reynolds and his dubious opinions. Well, the first shoe has dropped. I am now curious to see if any players will speak out on the subject. Kudos to a few media members, especially Bruce Arthur of the National Post and George Strombolopolous of CBC, who have done a tremendous job keeping this in the spotlight and chastising the Reynolds clan for their opinions.

As discussed in my previous posts, not only was the opinion questionable and offensive, the clean-up after the fact was abysmal. I still can’t believe the quotes that showed up in interviews following the initial tweets. We live in a day and age where the public generally forgives, and often for very hurtful actions. However, in both Reynolds’ and Goddard’s cases, both parties (and Uptown’s management) continued to defend the controversial viewpoint. Terrible business decision on Uptown’s part, and sadly Goddard has paid with his job. Unfortunate that all this arose from one person’s apparent need to express an anachronistic opinion.

And now, back to the game. Enjoy!

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NHLJeff's avatar

No matter your stance on the subject, what is wrong with people utilizing their rights to free speech and expressing their opinions?  Even if Jeffrey has a differing viewpoint from Reynolds, that’s not enough of a reason to dump him as his representation (although the fact that Reynolds used the company Twitter to express his beliefs may be). Either way, to each his own. Believe what you want, and it’s important o remember that one’s opinion on that subject, in most cases, will not affect his/her job performance.

Posted by NHLJeff from Pens fan in Denver on 05/13/11 at 03:18 AM ET

CaptNorris5's avatar

Posted by NHLJeff from Pens fan in Chicago, IL on 05/13/11 at 01:18 AM ET

So… you know the right to free speech applies to the government, not to private corporations right? When your job is to be a member of the media, to be out there and be see, what you say in the public forum is directly related to your job performance.

Would you have a problem with ESPN firing someone who said “Hey… he might be a good running back, but I just wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing the same drinking fountain with a black guy.” The fact is, its the same thing. Bigotry.

Not only was Rogers justified in their decision, they were right. At the very least, the guy was publicly alienating a good percentage of the fanbase, and as such, put his job in serious jeopardy. In reality - the guy was actively practicing bigotry under the Sportsnet banner. Good riddance.

Posted by CaptNorris5 from The Winged Wheel, stuck in Chicago on 05/13/11 at 03:25 AM ET

NHLJeff's avatar

I was actually referring g more to the Todd Reynolds thing and Dustin Jeffrey switching agents. I agree that he shouldn’t have use the company account to express his opinions, but even if his client disagreed with his opinion, he should respect it.

Posted by NHLJeff from Pens fan in Denver on 05/13/11 at 03:29 AM ET


I don’t agree with Todd Reynolds’ opinion.  I think it’s ridiculous, in fact.  But here’s the thing:  He has as much right to express it as Sean Avery has to express his.  And I will defend that always, no matter how ancient I consider his viewpoint to be.  In an essay for Reader’s Digest, Christopher Hitchens explained it much more eloquently than I:
“My own opinion is a very simple one. The right of others to free expression is part of my own. If someone’s voice is silenced, then I am deprived of the right to hear. Moreover, I have never met nor heard of anybody I would trust with the job of deciding in advance what it might be permissible for me or anyone else to say or read. That freedom of expression consists of being able to tell people what they may not wish to hear, and that it must extend, above all, to those who think differently is, to me, self-evident.”
Disagree with Reynolds.  Share with him (and those who share his view)  the reasons you believe differently; these are important discussions and they need to take place if same-sex marriage is ever going to become an everyday option instead of a lightning rod.  And Reynolds has the right to share his reasoning, as well. 
As for Goddard, well, I work for a media organization.  He should have known better.  Twitter obliterates the human pause button, and the results can be ugly.  Yet another lesson about free speech (which Uptown Hockey has now memorized, I bet): Realize that it can have consequences.  Be ready to defend yourself.

P.S. That was indeed a phenomenal game.  The next round might be even better.

Posted by A.M. from U.S. on 05/13/11 at 03:29 AM ET


The right to free speech, yes, and also the the consequences of that speech.  You share an unpopular opinion be ready to be ostracized for it.  It’s the legal alternative to pitchforks and fire.

Posted by Josh on 05/13/11 at 09:09 AM ET


A.M.: Completely agree with you. However, the key here, from my perspective, is that Reynolds used Uptown’s Twitter account. That means, unless it is addressed and reversed publicly, Uptown Hockey has the same opinion.

Sean Avery made a PSA on his own time to support a not-for-profit cause. Had he gone online and used the NHL’s Twitter account to Tweet his opinion as the NHL, or the New York Rangers, even though I support his view, from a corporate viewpoint that would be extremely misguided. The issue here is how Reynolds conducted himself, although it is clearly augmented by his archaic statement.

Everyone has the right to an opinion - but not everyone’s opinion is right.

An aside: it’s interesting the discussion this has caused. That wouldn’t have happened had it not been for Reynolds, and it’s an important topic. So, from a negative comes a positive to some extent.

Posted by The Upper Canadien from Toronto on 05/13/11 at 09:29 AM ET


Even if Jeffrey has a differing viewpoint from Reynolds, that’s not enough of a reason to dump him as his representation

but even if his client disagreed with his opinion, he should respect it.

I disagree here. I know if I was in Jeffrey’s position I would have done the same thing. Its important to respect people’s freedom of speech and their right to voice their opinion, but it’s also Jeffrey’s right not to support someone with those opinions. I certainly would not work for a boss or organization that I knew to be bigoted. If you feel strongly about an issue you should support it. Speaking your mind in a public forum can have consequences, and the speaker should understand and expect that.

Posted by Matt from Boston on 05/13/11 at 11:19 AM ET

NHLJeff's avatar

How do people not realize that just believing that “marriage” (not partnerships/civil unions) should be between a man and a woman is in no way bigoted?  He is not saying that those partnerships should not have similar rights, just that it isn’t a marriage. It’s not like he’s saying that gays shouldn’t be allowed to play hockey or shouldn’t be able to do anything straight people do. Saying that marriage should be between a man and a woman is like saying a school needs teachers, it just isn’t one without them.  And to those comparing this to him saying a certain race shouldn’t be married or “baseball fans” shouldn’t be married, that is ridiculous. It’s not like that, as those could be a man and a woman.

Posted by NHLJeff from Pens fan in Denver on 05/13/11 at 12:00 PM ET

Dakkster's avatar

NHLJeff, you just don’t seem to be able to put yourself in other people’s shoes. For many, many, many people, it’s not as cut and dry as you consider it to be and you are certainly not the end-all, be-all authority on this. The sheer amount of people who feel oppressed by not being allowed to marry should tell you that it is indeed bigotry to say that they should not be allowed to do so.

In fact, marriage is a legal binding that can be done without any religious pretext whatsoever in today’s society. Keep religion out of it. OR… if you still want to bring religion in, feel free to answer this: If homosexuality is such a sin, why do thousands of priests take sexual advantage of little boys, both historically and currently?

Actually, don’t answer that question. My point is that organized religion (in this case Christianity) is getting woefully outdated, much like the American constitution, and therefore it sometimes needs amendments. This is such a case. I have another question for you: If God doesn’t want people of the same gender to have sex or marry, why did he make homosexuality a naturally occurring part of virtually every animal species on the planet?

Don’t answer that either. The fact is that marriage, from the beginning, is all about legally binding two people/families in order to share what they own. It’s simple economics. Ask yourself why there are so many more divorces now that women actually have the opportunity to make their own living, something that started in the last century. Before that, they were practically forced to marry men, or they wouldn’t survive.

You could make the argument that marriage is getting more and more romantically motivated, since most of us are able to earn our own living, so if you’re marrying someone, you (mostly) actually love them these days. Well, how does that preclude gay people? Aren’t they romantically motivated?

Regardless, if you deny those people the right to marry, you are taking away a right that heterosexuals have but homosexuals don’t have and THAT is bigotry down to a t. There are no two ways about it.

Posted by Dakkster from Southern Sweden on 05/13/11 at 06:21 PM ET


nhl jeff, you are an embarrassment to terrier nation.

[pens comment redacted]

Posted by jenn on 05/14/11 at 03:53 PM ET

NHLJeff's avatar

Jenn, you’re an embarrassment to life, and I have a feeling BU would disagree with your statement. Marriage is very sacred to many people, and its original purpose was for procreation, something of which two people are the same sex are incapable.  I am all for civil unions having the same rights as a marriage, but it shouldn’t be called “marriage.” I am a proponent of universal happiness, but the fact is, the definition of marriage involves a man and a woman. I digress though, as I don’t feel we need to ravage this site with politics.

Posted by NHLJeff from Pens fan in Denver on 05/14/11 at 07:14 PM ET

Dakkster's avatar

NHLJeff, go read a history book. Marriage is, and from the start was, about consolidating property between two families.

Posted by Dakkster from Southern Sweden on 05/14/11 at 07:17 PM ET


Beyond the opinions on marriage, the fact remains that it was extremely foolish to issue such an opinion from a corporate account.

Also, I’ll give my two cents: For many years, marriage was between a man and a woman; however, for many years, voters were men and men only. For many years, minorities were slaves. For many years, the French couldn’t speak their own language, and Native Canadians were prevented from socializing with non-Natives. Well guess what: all of those things changed, because they were wrong. So did hundreds of other archaic traditions and beliefs.

Nothing is wrong with religion - I’m religious myself, and believe many things that others probably think are silly. And that’s fine. But I don’t allow my religious beliefs to infringe on other people’s rights. It’s 2011 and that is wrong. If we are trying to help other countries solve their conflicts and defend the rights of their minorities (and I say we collectively), how can we oppress people within our own borders?

The gay community has every right to vote, partake in social activities and, yes, marry, as everyone else. Again, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but as I stated earlier on: everyone has the right to their own opinion, but not every opinion is right. If you don’t believe a minority group is entitled to something everyone else is, that’s unfortunate - but keep it to yourself.

Posted by The Upper Canadien from Toronto on 05/14/11 at 09:25 PM ET

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About The Upper Canadien

The Upper Canadien is your one stop shop for all things Montreal Canadiens. Since the summer of 2010, I've been providing Habs related news, notes, and most importantly, opinions. As a blogger, I don't believe it's my job to report the news, it's my privilege to comment on it. You may disagree with what I suggest. In fact, you most likely will. But that's the great part about blogging: it spurs opinion, comment and engages all involved. I've really enjoyed all the debate and commentary from readers thus far and I encourage everyone to respond with ideas on lineups, trades, logos, sweaters, mascots, whatever. The Upper Canadien is a conversation for all hockey fanatics.

I've come to Kukla's Korner with four years of campus radio and three years of sportswriting from my time at Mount Allison University on Canada's East coast. Not only do I not have any professional journalistic training, after five years in the corporate world, I've spent much of the past two years completing an MBA. Business by day, hockey by night, I'm a Canadiens fan through and through. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I do writing.

Questions or comments? theuppercanadien@kuklaskorner.com