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Unwritten code of conduct

Image: nhl.si.com
Image: nhl.si.com

Article: Brady Lang – Sports Writer

I understand journalism is a competitive profession, I really do, but what happened on Oct.10 in the visitor’s locker room in Vancouver crossed the line.

Two days off of a historic night for San Jose Sharks rookie Thomas Hertl, Sharks captain Joe Thornton was caught up in “locker room talk” and a Vancouver journalist jumped on Jumbo Joe’s quote, sending it into the Twitterverse and eventually blowing up the social media site.

This sparked a debate which journalists around the country quickly jumped in on. Thornton’s comments were not directed at this particular journalist, nor was this journalist interviewing Thornton in the first place, yet he tweeted it anyways.

For background knowledge of the quote and its meaning, the aforementioned Sharks rookie, Hertl, scored four goals in a 9-2 win over the New York Rangers two nights earlier and celebrated quite profoundly after his fourth- and ninth for his team- goal of the game. The journalist was interviewing Sharks winger Patrick Marleau and Thornton’s comments were logged after the journalist turned away after concluding his interview with Marleau.

I won’t include the direct quote in this article, but as any athlete – no matter what sport you play or what level you played your given sport- knows what’s said in the locker room stays in the locker room. To paraphrase Thornton’s comments, the Sharks star said, “I would have my (hoo-ha) out if I scored four goals, I’d have my (rooster) out, stroking it.”

Now, anyone that’s involved in sport knows that there is a sense of brotherhood on a team and the dressing room is a place of team bonding and a place you can say almost anything.

I guess the journalist didn’t get the memo.

In my opinion, the comments made in that respect shouldn’t be taken to the press or even to Twitter. Twitter has become such a useful tool in journalism in the sense that you can say whatever you want, whenever you want and it is broadcast to your followers and to the rest of the world. It is a double-edged sword in a way that it could come back to bite you – just like this journalist figured out.

I’ve played the game of hockey since I was four years old, and believe me, there are things dropped in the dressing room that stay in the dressing room. There is no place out of the dressing room for those comments at any time.

When you join a team, whether it is professional or recreational, there is an unwritten code of conduct once you step in the dressing room with your teammates. Joe Thornton knows this rule; if he didn’t then the Sharks forward definitely wouldn’t have said what he said.

When playing the Devil’s Advocate, I do believe that Joe Thornton could have held off on that comment until in was just the Sharks in the room. At the same time it, seemed that Thornton wasn’t fazed by how the comment became such a big deal. He shrugged it off and kept on with his day.

As a hockey fan however, I really don’t want to be watching the game where Jumbo Joe nets four in one night, could make for some interesting highlights in the morning on Sportscentre.

About Brady Lang

Former benchwarmer and full time sports junkie with a passion for broadcast journalism. I’ll talk sports with anyone, even if you’re a Yankees fan!