Sidney Crosby: Is It Too Easy to Hate the Kid?

Scott BrownCorrespondent IJanuary 20, 2009


I have often wondered if the mainstream media goes too far looking for the next story. I sometimes feel as though its become common practice to build someone up only for the purpose of later tearing them down. The practise is certainly the norm in the North American sports scene and to this day I just don't get it. 

As I was watching the Rangers/Penguins game, an interesting story came up.

Without any fanfare or great production, Sidney Crosby arranged to get equipment for 800 kids in the Pittsburgh area who couldn't afford the equipment to play hockey.

Once he heard of this problem, he took matters into his own hands and gave back to the community. Now I am not saying that Sidney Crosby is the second coming of Mother Theresa, but it did start to get me thinking.

So why on earth is there so much negativity surrounding Sidney Crosby? 

When you look at his on-ice resume the guy is the complete package. Off the ice he does everything that is asked of him by the team, the league, and his sponsors. Plus, his on-ice performance has seemed to go unaffected thus far. 

In the short time that Crosby has been in this league he has become the face of the league in a time they needed someone to bring people back to the areas after the lockout ended. He has saved hockey in Pittsburgh as the 54 straight sellouts at the oldest building in the NHL will attest to.

I could even argue that the gold mine that is the Winter Classic is nothing if that game in Buffalo doesn't play out exactly as it did. It's not like people were lining up for another Heritage classic after the Canadiens and Oilers played in 2003.

In short, Crosby has been everything this league needed since 2005, and despite all the accolades and success, he has kept a level head on his shoulders and continues to excel in his role as the games greatest active playing ambassador. 

The bar was set so high for this kid right out of junior that it would have been easy for him to fail, but by all accounts he has surpassed even the most ridiculous expectations at this point in his career, with the only true blemish being the team's inability to beat a superior Red Wings team in the final last year.

Yet despite his early success Crosby continues to play the game of hockey under a microscope. The media tends to grab onto any negative they spin into a story and run with it. "Crosby is a whiner, Crosby is spoiled because he is the NHL's favorite son".

The complaints about this guy never stop and border on just plain ludicrous sometimes. If I have to hear about how the NHL's second leading scorer is in a terrible slump one more time, I think I might lose my mind completely. 

Nowhere is this irresponsible behavior more prevalent than in Sidney's own backyard. The Canadian media treat this kid as if he was Sean Avery not Sidney Crosby. Last year during the Stanley Cup playoffs the commentators almost completely refused to include Sidney in any of their pre-or-post game reports.

It was like he didn't even exist. Don Cherry spent hours going on about Gary Roberts and wouldn't even speak of Sid by name. That is just so absurd that I cant wrap my head around it.  

Think for a moment if during the Super Bowl the network just decided that they would spend the telecast talking about Byron Leftwich instead of Ben Rothelesberger.  

There is very little that I know about the people that play or work in professional hockey for a living or the people that are paid to tell their stories through the daily newspapers and sports shows. Yet there are two things that I am absolutely certain about:

I know that 800 kids in the Pittsburgh area that couldn't afford to play minor hockey a week ago can now sign up and play the wonderful game of hockey thanks to the actions of Sidney Crosby.

I also know that if you ask the 32 General managers in this league which player they would choose to build their team around, Sidney Crosby would be the top of the list.  

I don't pretend to understand how certain members of the media would go to such great lengths to tear Crosby down when there are so many people out there playing professional sports that deserve that kind of negative publicity so much than he does. Of course I guess that is the inherent problem with the whole mess.  

Nobody cares that Pacman Jones was misbehaving in Las Vegas again. But did you hear that Sidney Crosby doesn't have the same passion for the game as Alex Ovechkin?

I guess that is the story more likely to sell.