Did Trouba lie about wanting to stay with Jets?

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/07/2018 (1483 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Steve Lyons: Hey there — how’s it going?

Lots of intriguing storylines in sports news over the weekend — the Jacob Trouba arbitration hearing and ruling of course generating the most interest around here.

One thing that got me to thinking was the mixed messages we’ve heard from the Trouba camp. As the headline on Mike McIntyre’s story says, “Just a few months ago it was all sunshine,” referring to Trouba’s post-season comments where he said he wanted to stay in Winnipeg and play for the Jets long-term and wanted to get a long-term contract signed as soon as possible.

Frankly, I didn’t put much stock in those comments at the time. What I’ve learned in this biz, is the athletes — and coaches, GMs and owners — rarely tell the whole truth and mostly provide very little of the truth. They spin the message; avoid the question; do everything they can to further their own agenda. I’m not saying that to be critical of the approach by the way — it’s just the way of the world isn’t it?

So, did Jacob Trouba lie to the media and the hockey fans in this city? Is Paul Maurice lying when he tells us this or that about his lineup, but never really tells us the truth?

Will the real Jacob Trouba please speak up? (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press Files)

If you are expecting the absolute truth to come out of the mouths of folks in pro sports, you are setting yourself up to feel betrayed down the road.

Paul Wiecek: So much to unpack there.

Clearly, lying is pervasive in professional sports and we in the media — and by extension the fans —tolerate most of it without much of a fuss. And that’s because, I think, most of the lying that gets done in pro sports is various forms of lying by omission. We’re told a guy is injured, but not that the team already knows he is going to need season-ending surgery, stuff like that.

But what makes this Trouba business different, I think, is that he has been much more bald-faced about it.

Back in September, 2016, Trouba looked me in the eye outside the North American dressing room at the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto and told me how much he wanted to re-sign with the Jets. And then a week later, his agent announced Trouba was demanding to be traded. That wasn’t a lie by omission — it was just a lie.

And then this time around, Trouba went on at length in a season-ending news conference about how much he wanted to get a deal done with the Jets and how much he preferred it get done quickly, only to then drag the team to the first arbitration hearing in franchise history. Again, this was something more brazen then just leaving out some key details.

I’d have a lot less problem with Trouba if he simply came out publicly and said what has become painfully obvious: that he doesn’t want to be here. The guy should just stand in front of the cameras, once and for all, and offer some variation of, “This is a fine town and great team you got here, but it’s just not for me.” I’d actually respect a guy who did that.

But this continually saying one thing and doing the opposite? I don’t tolerate it in my personal life and I won’t tolerate it in my professional life.

Steve: You might have to my friend. Presuming he did lie — if that’s what you want to call it; as opposed to telling you and the folks at home what they want to hear or perhaps changing his mind or having his mind changed (agent), I think his comments to you at the World Cup of hockey and the ones this post-season always need to be taken with a grain of salt. And he would hardly be the first athlete — or coach, or GM, or owner — to say one thing out of one side of their mouth only to say another out the other side. Google the Top 10 liars in sports and see what you come up with, lol.

Don’t take it personally.

Plus, imagine the vitriol from the folks here in town if Trouba actually did come out and say he doesn’t like it here. Great zoo and all, but I’m an American from Michigan and I just wanna go home. My gawd, he’d be roasted and booed all season long.

Have you heard the folks around here freak out when you say anything negative about this amazingly incredible city?

It’s a no-win situation to say something like that — I’d lie too.

Paul: You will pardon me if I’m a little saddened to hear an editor at a major Canadian metropolitan newspaper say we should just let the people we talk to lie to us, brazenly, and then not hold them to account.

Mercifully, you’re the sports editor and not the politics editor, but still. Somewhere, J.W. Dafoe just poured himself a stiff drink.

The fact so many other athletes out there are lying just as brazenly isn’t an argument against holding these guys to account, it’s a compelling argument in favour of it. It’s also, by the way, a compelling argument in favour of the continued existence of newspapers like ours.

I think Trouba would do himself, the Jets and the rest of this community a favour by simply being honest with us. Anything would be better than what he has been doing, which is insulting our intelligence.

Jacob Trouba should just be honest with Winnipeg Jets’ fans and admit he wants out. (Chris Young / The Canadian Press Files)

And as for the fallout, it wouldn’t last long because Trouba’s days in Winnipeg would be numbered, which, also, would probably be best at this point for Trouba, the Jets and this community.

Steve Lyons: Who is this J.W. Dafoe guy?……… kidding.

I think comparing sports to politics is kinda apples and oranges — Trouba couching the truth is not quite the same as Premier Brian Pallister doing the same; he doesn’t do that does he?

I know you were out at the lake and away from the news cycle a bit on the weekend, so I’m sure you didn’t watch any of The Open from Carnoustie. I was at the gym on Sunday morning, saw that Tiger was in the hunt so I decided I would catch a little of the action after I got home. Part of me was hoping he’d win so I could assign you to write a column about it on Monday. I’m not sure I’m going to join that big gang on Monday morning who thinks it’s only a matter of time now until Tiger wins another major, but as someone who was a fan of his during his heyday it was nice to see him smiling and enjoying himself on Sunday.

And while we’re saying I told you so — well I am anyways; what did I tell you about Adarius Bowman? Bad move signing him to start with, but good to see they are admitting their mistakes more quickly these days.

Paul Wiecek: Do we still have JW’s red leather armchair sitting at the back of the newsroom? There’s a lot of Canadian history — and some of the country’s most memorable and influential editorials — tied up in that chair. I’m going to steal it one day.

Tiger. A legion of golf fans — which is to say white men, aged 60 and over — had their hopes raised and then dashed by a Tiger who, for all the hype over the weekend, still cannot put 72 holes together.

Tiger Woods still has some believers in the world. (Richard Sellers / PA Wire Files)

It speaks volumes about how far Tiger has fallen that a sixth place finish is being heralded a career breakthrough. Maybe I’m old but I can still remember a day when Tiger finishing sixth at a major would have been regarded as nothing more than a terrible disappointment. We’d be reading stories right now with headlines like, ‘What’s wrong with Tiger?’

Instead, the golf media — which is to say white men, aged 60 and over — are trumpeting this as the moment Tiger returned to save the sport. Good luck with that.

Last week at this time, Tiger Woods was a man who hadn’t won a major in 10 years or a golf tournament of any kind in five years. He’s still that today, and will in all likelihood remain so.

Steve: I went to look for that chair. It’s in an office at the back of the newsroom — I think the only time it gets used now is for Ben McPhee-Sigurdson’s wine-tasting videos. How do you think J.W. would feel about that?

For this of you wondering: from 1901-1944 Mr. Dafoe was the editor of the Manitoba Free Press, later named the Winnipeg Free Press.

Wikipedia says “Dafoe was one of the country’s most influential and powerful journalists. During his tenure, the Free Press was among the most important newspapers in Canada and was considered one of the great newspapers of the world. His influence extended to the very centre of Canadian power, both through his writing and his close relations with his employers, the Liberal Sifton family.”

Ya think if I sat in that chair for a bit, something might rub off?

Hey, are you in the city this week? I want to return that saw you loaned me. It worked fantastically — kinda.

As you know, I wanted to cut down some rogue elms that have continued to grow between my garage and my neighbour’s chain-link fence. That saw you gave me got them down to the ground, so hopefully I won’t have to deal with them anymore.

But in a case of what I am calling Mother Nature karma, while I was cutting down the kiddie trees in the back, I came around to the front yard to see that the parent elm had dropped a big branch on to the hood of my brand new BMW — Say What?!

Mother Nature took her revenge on Steve’s car. (Steve Lyons / Winnipeg Free Press)

While I probably should have been more upset, the humor of it made me just laugh. When I reported it to MPI, the claims guy got a good chuckle out of it as well. It’s just a tiny little dent, but worth getting fixed and paying the $300 deductible. That’s right, angry trees do not warrant a waived deductible.

Paul: That’s such a weird story about those trees.

When you left the house that day with the saw, I was worried about you hurting yourself, not the tree hurting your car.

Too bad it wasn’t the other way around. HSC doesn’t charge a deductible.

I’ve sat in that Dafoe chair and my writing is still barely English. It’s a chair, not magic.

Steve: For the folks following along: I am normally allergic to power tools. When I use them, I break out in stupidity.

Hey, we just passed the all-star break and I’m not sure we’ve chatted about baseball once this season — are we joining the crowd of those who don’t care anymore?

Any thoughts on the current season?

Paul: Nerds ruined baseball.

All this Moneyball stuff made for a great movie, but it’s made for lousy baseball. MLB is on pace to record more strikeouts than hits for the first time in history. Tell me how that’s a good thing for a game that is already too boring for the smartphone generation? And then on top of that, all these crazy positional shifts we see now make a mockery of the sport in a way that is turning off the old purists. So to summarize — the old fans are tuning out and the new fans see no reason to tune in. Way to go, nerds.

And then if all that wasn’t enough, the post-season for the AL — my preferred circuit — was basically decided in June this year. The Sox, Indians, Astros and Yanks are already in and have been for weeks. All that is left to be determined is whether the Mariners or A’s will get the second wild card. And we’re playing 80 games for that?

To quote the Archer character, Cheryl: “This is the longest takingest thing ever.”

Steve: I wish I was more interested in the NL — I used to be back in the Expos days. I was glancing at the NL standings this morning — said hardly anyone not in an NL city — to try and generate some interest within myself and see there are lots of good races there. I’ve often thought about adopting an NL team to kinda of silently root for. When I was a kid, I loved the Cincinnati Reds. Hard to like them over the last several decades. But, I have spent some vacation time in San Francisco — they’ve won a few titles and how do you no cheer for Buster Posey?

Back to American guys that found working in Winnipeg to be a little odd. Former Bombers head coach Darryl Rogers died on July 10. He was 83.

Rogers coached the Bombers for one season — 1991; the year after they won their last Grey Cup. He replaced Mike Riley, who went off to coach the San Antonio Riders of the WLAF (World League of American Football).

Rogers had a big-time resume, having coached at Michigan State; Arizona State; and the NFL’s Detroit Lions.

Darryl Rogers coached the Bombers in 1991. He died on July 10 at the age of 83. (Detroit News Files)

I was the Bombers beat reporter that season and I remember Rogers used to love to sit in this big padded chair he had a chat. Often I would sit in his office one-on-one and chat about football and other things.

When I heard he died the other day, I recalled one of the more interesting stories he told me. Growing up in Southern California, Rogers loved the beach. The Bombers were off one day that summer and he spent the afternoon and evening up at Grand Beach. He told me it was one of the prettiest beaches he’d ever seen, but he had one question he hoped I could answer: “Why the heck didn’t they build the city on that gorgeous lake?”

You mean instead of our two lovely rivers Darryl? He laughed.

We coulda been Chicago folks and Jacob Trouba would love us!!

Paul: Lord Selkirk doomed us to the confluence of two unswimmable rivers that flood all the time. Thanks for nothing.

I love reading those alternate histories where an author imagines how history might have been different if, say, the Japanese hadn’t attacked Pearl Harbour or the Cuban Missile Crisis had led to a nuclear war or the South had won the U.S. Civil War.

I’d love to read one of those alternate histories — but, even more, live in one — where Winnipeg actually lived up to its original billing as the Chicago of the North.

Steve: Gotta some other stuff piling up here, so gonna need to get started putting tomorrow’s paper together, but I’d like end this chat by giving a shout-out to FP readers Ron and Cindy Rentz. Perhaps you recall the last time we chatted like this, I told you about this couple I met outside my hotel in Munich. How the husband was wearing a Jets cap and CN shirt and that his wife expressed that she was a fan of the FP and my travel stories. I presumed because the fella was quiet, perhaps he wasn’t as big a fan. Of course, I assumed wrong — as I’m prone to do more often that I like to admit.

Ron and Cindy send me a nice note to tell me about their terrific vacation biking and barging through Germany and France and they mentioned how much they enjoy reading this little verbal-volley we like to do.

Thanks folks. In fact, thanks to anyone who read this today.

steve.lyons@freepress.mb.ca

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

 

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