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Mike McIntyre | On Sports
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Fighting with fire
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Fighting with fire

My normal rule of thumb is to never feed the trolls.

Don’t acknowledge the hurtful, hate-filled tweets and emails. Don’t give them the satisfaction of a block. And don’t respond. Just delete, mute, ignore. Let them scream into the void.

I broke that rule on Tuesday, after my email box lit up like a slot machine following a column I wrote decrying the so-called "freedom convoy," and the $1,000 donation (along with words of support) that came from Winnipeg Jets forward Paul Stastny.

I knew it was likely to strike a nerve. But as a columnist, it’s my job to weigh in on issues of the day. I did it on Monday with regards to the sports world sending Russian President Vladimir Putin a powerful message. And I did it again a day later when an obviously hot-button issue became a focal point regarding the NHL team I cover on a daily basis.

Colleague Jeff Hamilton had done the initial news story, sharing Stastny’s words that came out of a lengthy, exclusive one-on-one interview in Arizona last weekend. And I followed up with what we felt was some important and necessary context about someone as high-profile and celebrated as Stastny using his podium to make what I felt were ignorant, ill-informed comments.

Stastny is a pending unrestricted free agent who is likely going to be moved by the March 21 trade deadline. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press files)

There’s no question some would disagree with my take, and I was certainly prepared for that. I welcome opposing views, criticism and critiques. It comes with the territory, and I have thick skin and promise not to get my nose out of joint.

But there’s a certain line of decorum and respect, one that unfortunately gets crossed all too often these days, especially when it comes to journalists.

And a few emails in particular — ones that went for the lowest-hanging fruit — stood out.

And so I broke my own rules, fired off a reply and shared the back-and-forth on social media. Not because I was looking for sympathy, or even support, although it’s nice to see so many fine folks, most of them complete strangers, having your back.

But more to illustrate what is, and isn’t, acceptable, and what kind of dialogue many of us are facing these days. And, perhaps, give other would-be hate-mongers pause for thought before they hit “send,” although I certainly won’t hold my breath on that.

In any event, here are two of those emails. The only editing I’ve done is to remove the profanities.

 


 

“After I read your article I thought what kind of pathetic loser would write such (expletive)? Then I saw your picture. Have you ever (expletive) a woman without paying for it? Which is nore pathetic because you live in Winnipeg. (expletive) slob. Rebel news has more integrity than you you fat piece of (expletive). Your a walking co-morbidity. I bet you're not allowed within 500m of schools or playgrounds you (expletive) creep.”

•••

“Yeah, Mike, judging by the tires hanging from each side of your face, you’re totally informed on basic health, fitness and nutrition!!!!!! God Bless Stastny for speaking his mind which the silent majority agree with. The MSM is failing financially and so the Trudeau Liberals have to subsidize their existence….. YOUR EXISTENCE. If you don’t think people can connect those dots, then you’re dumber than you look (enough said about that!). Applying the general narrative of the MSM over the long term will guarantee once great counties like Canada to the same sorry spot Cuba finds itself in today. BROKE AND HELPLESS. (in a way just like the financial reality of your Publication — the Wpg Free Press — broke save for JT and his Liberal subsidies! The amount of money raised by the Freedom Convoy speaks for itself. The chattering classes can only clamor about how they can get their hands on that money….. SAME OLD STORY! Maybe it’s time you look in the mirror, INFORM YOURSELF….. and maybe you can stave off a massive heart attact! Or maybe not.”

 


 

Charming, aren’t they?

Both included Free Press mug shots of me that I guess they’d found online which had been taken years ago, back before I got myself into the best shape of my life, dropping more than 100 pounds since July 2020 (which I’ve managed to maintain through to the present).

Not that any of that should matter one iota, but just to give you some additional context for my reply to both individuals:

Hi there,

It’s really cool you found a years-old photo of me, taken prior to losing 107 pounds and getting in the best shape of my life.

One of my proudest accomplishments in a full life filled with many.

I’m sorry your life is so empty and void of any happiness that you resort to the lowest hanging fruit of trying to insult someone’s appearance. It makes me afraid, frankly, for anyone unfortunate enough to have you in their lives. Especially women.

I truly hope, for the sake of humanity, you don’t have any children cursed with having you as a supposed role model.

And I hope you also enjoy having this made public, which I have now done.

— Mike

OK, perhaps not my proudest moment. But maybe I still was hearing the words of Jets forward Pierre-Luc Dubois echoing through my ears. When describing the other day how the Jets clearly took the foot off the gas after building a quick 3-0 lead in Colorado, then ultimately falling 6-3, Dubois lamented how his team continually waits for the opponent to dictate how the game will be played.

"I think you have to fight fire with fire,” he said.

Indeed.

To be clear, the majority of emails and tweets I received — there’s more than 200 in total with regards to the Stastny/convoy column — were classy. Even the ones who wanted to let me know I was wrong. Which, of course, is absolutely their right.

But for the ones who cross the line, let me conclude with another recent saying I came across that I rather love: 

Well, fellas, I hope you have the day you deserve.

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre, Sports columnist

Mike McIntyre

Speaking of being left-leaning...

I’m definitely tilting that way these days, but it has absolutely nothing to do with any political beliefs.

It’s a result of some tendon damage and an apparent sprained right ankle, the product of that ongoing commitment to fitness I mentioned above.

Turns out all that daily walking and running and gym attendance can come with a bit of a painful cost if you’re not careful.

I’ve made some early strides during a couple trips to physiotherapy over the past week, with another one planned this weekend, and am trying to take it slightly more easy to allow for some healing.

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But as my wife can attest, I’m a wee bit stubborn, so it’s proving to be a bit difficult.

However, I’m heading to my favourite city in the world next week, New York, to cover the Jets' upcoming three-game trip. Naturally, I’d prefer not to have to limp all over the Big Apple. So that’s a bit of extra motivation for me right now.

Catch you next week, folks, from the City That Never Sleeps.

Stay well, and please be kind to each other.

What I've been working on...


The NHL has an officiating problem

Inconsistent refs, linesmen need to raise their game Read More

 

Stastny adds to Jets’ woes

Veteran’s ill-informed comments tarnish his legacy and harm club Read More

 

Sports world punishes Putin

Hopefully sanctions against Russia have an effect on ruthless dictator Read More

 

Jets must roar like lions in March

Having Copp back in lineup should help Read More

 

Steen rebuilding his life in Sweden

City he called home for 40 years is out of sight and mostly out of mind for Jets legend Read More

 

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