Sunday morning the sad saga ended.
Bruce Boudreau was relieved of his duties as head coach of the Canucks, replaced by Rick Tocchet.
It was the worst kept secret in living memory.
For at least a week the story had already been the dominant one in the mainstream hockey media. You see, when a team is struggling—and the Canucks really have been—the coach’s job is always deemed to be on the line.
But what put this story over the top was that General Manager Jim Rutherford answered a media question truthfully a week ago.
Now that’s a big “no-no.”
With the Canucks’ struggles (and a little more related fuel in the reporters’ arsenal, such as Boudreau never having been Rutherford’s first choice), the inevitable speculation emerged.
In questioning about Boudreau’s security, the reporters also asked Rutherford whether he’d talked to potential replacements for Boudreau, and he admitted that he had.
When the team is struggling, GM’s are always questioned about the security of the coach’s job. The politically correct answer is always “Yes, he’s safe.” That answer, to be sure, is usually the kiss of death for a coach and means he’ll likely be fired within a week. But at least the GM’s lie has gotten him off the hook and (apparently) saved the soon-to-be-fired coach from embarrassment.
By speaking the truth, though, Rutherford put a media target on the club, left the coach dangling in supposed limbo (actually, the certainty was already there), infuriated the Canuck faithful, choked off the steam from the players’ motivation (as admitted by one player after Friday’s loss to the Avalanche) and turned the organization into a bit of a laughing stock around the League.
Rutherford says he’s gotten support from other GMs who believe the story was way overblown by the media.
But, in any case, Canuck management get an “A” for naivete.
Nowadays, you (apparently) do not speak “truth.” You speak “political correctness” (which, by definition, means “incorrectness;” otherwise, why would you need the adjective?)
How often do you ever hear a straight answer from an athlete, politician, or any public figure for that matter? They’re trained to give responses that evade the true answers to questions lest they get themselves into trouble. More often than not, their answers are laughable (notwithstanding the John Tortorellas of this world). The answers are sanitized through filters that determine what is the “acceptable” thing to say, or the “appropriate” wording to use.
And they’d better be up-to-date on the latest “appropriate” terminology, because that’s always in flux, too.
I recently heard of a US-based university professor of a foreign language (which I won’t identify, to avoid the political correctness police, myself), who used a word in that language that was pronounced something like “nigga.” The African-American students in the class were outraged and, apparently, so seriously offended that the professor got axed.
Truth be damned! Now it’s saving people (oneself and others) from offense, embarrassment, media scrutiny, public shame or loss of job that provides our standard of speech. At least if you’re in the public eye.
No wonder we get the sad state of politicians and public figures we do. Who would want to subject themselves and their careers to the political correctness watchdogs.
Perhaps it’s Rutherford’s age. He grew up in an era where lying was wrong. Remember Bill Clinton? He got impeached for lying.
I grew up in that era, too. A lie would certainly put one in jeopardy of the fires of hell, likely based on the ninth commandment. In Catholic circles it was cause for confession to the priest.
The tables have been flipped. Now giving offense is the sin. And lying to avoid giving offense is the virtue.
Now, I’m all for sensitivity and care in providing discourse that will avoid offense. But it’s almost impossible to say anything these days that won’t offend someone if they hear it.
Political correctness has replaced truth as a standard of behaviour.
The Sunday morning saga was sad not only because it concluded the employ of a popular coach who’d been left dangling on a thread of uncertain certainty for awhile, but also because it exposed once again how bizarre our societal expectations of discourse have become.
At least, that’s how I see it . . .