Last week, the New York Islanders took press credentials away from Chris Botta, who writes the popular blog NYI Point Blank and was once the vice president of media relations for the team.Botta was surprised and disappointed in the decision and has received nearly unanimous support from the NHL community, especially because he banned merely for criticising the team’s decisions.
Peter Trinkle at Gothamist finds it hard to believe that the Islanders are doing anything that might alienate their fan base given the poor product they put on the ice and Stu Hackel at Sports Illustrated can’t believe the team would try to ban one of the few major media outlets that still covers the team.
While there are a handful of bloggers that believe it’s fully within the jurisdiction of each team to grant credentials to exactly who they want, most bloggers and even mainstream media members believe Botta was wronged.
The consensus seems to be that while many bloggers aren’t qualified to have full access, Botta is as professional as they come and that if any blogger deserves access it’s him.
Botta Tweeted his thanks on Friday to the several other NHL teams that contacted him and said he’d be “welcome at their rinks.”
The hockey gods may have frowned upon the decision to pull Botta’s credentials, for yesterday during the first intermission of the Islanders TV broadcast on MSG Plus, play-by-play announcer Howie Rose spoke openly about his feelings on the team, apparently unaware that he was still on the air.
“Is it spring training yet?” Rose asked. And later, “let me know how this game turns out…not that I particularly care.”
Rose attempted to diffuse the situation during the second intermission by saying that he was frustrated about technical difficulties with the broadcast and was not referring to the team’s play.
But it’s difficult to believe that given the embarrassing way the Islanders have been playing lately. The team has already fired its coach, has lost 13 games in a row, and sits in last place in the NHL.
The Islanders began the season with some eyebrow-raising media news by announcing that Hofstra University students would be responsible for producing the team’s radio broadcasts.
Given the string of messy situations that have occurred for the team, Rose’s comments are understandable. As Steve Lepore so eloquently puts it “Howie Rose is just sayin’ what we’re all thinkin’.”
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