Blackburn: I’m Not ‘Writing Off’ Sport

I know about being depicted on a book cover. I have seen it. I have done it, too. I have, as best I can tell, checked out a large chunk of that initial and…

Blackburn: I’m Not ‘Writing Off’ Sport

I know about being depicted on a book cover. I have seen it. I have done it, too. I have, as best I can tell, checked out a large chunk of that initial and highly successful launch title to the dominant Canadian television network, CTV.

Obviously, I wasn’t impressed.

I didn’t need someone else’s advance copy. I figured I was an intelligent, informed news consumer, especially about whether our civic traditions are in danger. I can go a step further and say, and in an entirely different context, that the term “writing off a great national pastime” strikes me as one of the most crass, impotent and creatively destructive adjectives you can expound with a spoonful of truth.

It’s a tired phrase that continues to be wielded with the conviction of someone who hasn’t seen or taken part in any team activity without one participant and an observer frequently claiming this brave warrior just loves time-wasting and doesn’t want to hear a single good thing about it.

Because not everyone enjoys all kinds of stress and boredom, of course. But we all have our work and times. Somebody who is suffering from this rare affliction is not well, or at least does not look well. Nobody is saying that somebody at Rogers is well-liked, and nobody is suggesting that somebody at Telus is well-liked.

But at the end of the day it is clear that none of the big public money is invested in success. There was not even a furlough for Martin Kingston, the embattled President of Rogers Wireless Media, the subsidiary responsible for news in the country. He and the entire Rogers board — which has had no shame in the elimination of jobs — were appointed by Rogers Inc. CEO Joe Natale to keep the $6 billion company from reaching into the black and producing titles such as “Simpsonist” and a sports app nobody cares about.

The Rogers board is in the process of reviewing the result of the public interest poll for the March 2019 election.

News directors have the right, as do professional sports broadcast talent, to talk about the business issues of their respective enterprises, how sports, news and entertainment fit together and what makes for good content that makes money. They have the right to do this openly and with their employers.

But I believe, as I write this, that Martin Kingston and the entire Rogers board will be welcomed back to the boardroom on January 1, 2020.

(You can follow Gerry Blackburn’s work on Twitter and social media @gerryblackburn )

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