Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mulligan for MacLean

Ron MacLean is a terrific broadcaster, but sometimes he tries too hard, and last night was one of those times. The Hockey Night in Canada host's comparison of the players in the Rangers-Capitals series to first response emergency personnel in the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington was ill-conceived, but it wasn't malicious or part of a pattern of insensitivity.
The camera doesn't lie, and over 25-plus years on the national stage, it's become abundantly clear that MacLean is a decent man as well as a diligent professional. It's his commitment to excellence that got him into the trouble he got into last night. He could have mailed it in and opened the broadcast with the stock cliches that so many sportscasters fall back on (and how are you this morning, Bob Cole?), but MacLean isn't one to resort to trite platitudes or rest on his considerable laurels. He strives to give the audience something of substance. The 9/11 analogy isn't something he threw out there off the top of his head, and he probably struggled with whether to use it before breaking one of the cardinal rules of broadcasting - when in doubt, leave it out.
An apology is both warranted and expected, but that should be the end of it, and it probably will be, especially after the next time Don Cherry or Mike Milbury do or say something so outrageous that it puts MacLean's honest mistake in its proper perspective.

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