“Fake News” Arrives in the Sports World?

Marc Elliott

DENVER… We have been subjected to the term “fake news” now since the current occupant was the recipient of a fake electoral victory last November and the country has been in a veritable tizzy ever since. A fake electoral victory I say? Ahhhh, who knows. Even Mr. Trump continues to state that “millions” of people cast illegal votes one way or another, and if that is the case Donald, how could you be so certain the victory is certifiably yours? Were all of the alleged cheaters on one side only? This only serves to take up a lot of news time and space that could probably be better used for things like, well, actual news for instance.  

The current occupant has proven to be many, many unpalatable things, the least of which is that he appears to have a pretty thin skin for someone in his position. So, as a result, whenever he hears some news about himself, a pet issue of his, or someone close to him that he doesn’t approve of, he simply goes to his Twitter account and brands it as “fake news”. I am sure you have heard his best/worst thus far, issues like his relations with Russian operatives who may have undermined our last Presidential Election. It’s a witch hunt he’ll say, it’s fake news, there’s nothing there. And usually, within about 24 hours, some report will come out to verify that it wasn’t fake news. The new POTUS and his Bad News Bears are not too good at allegedly lying and or misrepresenting the realities of what goes on within his administration. Most of the players at that level can look into a camera and do it without batting an eyelash. Trump and crew are rank amateurs.  

For those of us who pay intense attention to the World of Hockey, we already know or should I say, are painfully aware that the National Hockey League is not going to make it’s players available for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. I’ve debated that many times already and was pretty disgusted when Commissioner Gary Bettman announced in a rather final sort of way, that a deal couldn’t be reached for it’s players to go. I get it that it’s most definitely a major logistical undertaking and disruption to the regular season of the league. There is no dispute there whatsoever. But in my view, and in even financially quantifying the positives of participation in the Games via exposure and goodwill earned, somehow, someway, the league was shooting for some monetary enhancement for them and neither the IOC or the IIHF could negotiate a deal that could financially appease Bettman and the owners. I understand that. I don’t like it but I get it.  

So, the NHL moves forward and releases a schedule for the upcoming 2017-2018 season and there is no break in the schedule to accommodate the games. Lo and behold I’m glancing through some sports news the other day and here is a story intimating that there is a “secret” NHL alternate schedule hidden away somewhere just in case some 11th hour deal gets reached and the league magically and suddenly agrees to go. Well crapola. I had pretty much accepted the leagues decision was as final as a funeral. We ain’t going! We don’t care how good the Kimchi and Bulgogi are! That’s that!  

For cryin’ yi yi! Is there a National Enquirer out there especially for hockey that I have never heard of? Who comes up with this bologna? The source cited some Russian NHLer’s stating that negotiations are still ongoing and thus the 2nd schedule just in case. Friends, for about 10 months per year I take in hockey and hockey news. Most days begin with NHL Network Radio as early as 5am, extending until I watch what will usually be my 2nd or even 3rd game of the evening shortly before or after midnight, and I take in as many live games as is possible. I have heard all pertinent interviews with Mr. Bettman, his Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, USA Hockey officials, Hockey Canada officials, IOC reps, IIHF officials and more relative to this matter. My gut feeling is that this issue is finis’. If the league doesn’t go the Russians will say there were translation problems. (they always do when a story bites them) And me, I’m sitting here contemplating the specter of even more fake news, you know, something on the order of Bob Evans and Jimmy Dean actually hated sausage or the like…  

WHAT KID DOESN’T LIKE bicycle riding? It’s kind of a right of passage in one’s youth to get your first bike, have your mom or dad run along side of you with your training wheels on, intently watching you learn how to keep your balance until that big moment when the trainers can be removed once and for all. It’s a moment of celebration for all little kids. My Grandson Wyatt “the Big Wy-guy” recently went through the process. He was quite proud. I went through it, and recall when I bought and paid for my first adult size bike, in 6th grade, a Raleigh with the 26” wheels. Pretty high quality.  

In the eighties I got two more Raleigh’s, an Olympian and a Pursuit. I mostly did some pleasure riding here and there but then in my late forties and early fifties I got into some serious bike training. 20 miles a night, every night. And I was doing that in about 60-65 minutes. I have not one clue where that would put me in terms of competitive riding. Could render me to rocket or sled status for all I know. But what a blast! Loved every mile.  

This week 11 years ago at the bike race of all bike races, The Tour de France, American Floyd Landis had his Tour victory stripped from him for using PED’s. At first Landis vehemently denied the accusations, stating that a mixture of cortisone and alcohol was the culprit for the positive test. And there were some instances where certain combinations of substances could produce indifferent results. In the end this wasn’t the case with Floyd. He spent the next year proclaiming his innocence and then in 2010 finally admitted that he had in fact been doping during the competition. It turns out most of the cycling world was mired in doping to enhance performance in that era. From training wheels to scandals on two wheels. From human beauty to human failure and ugliness in about 20 years of ones life… PEACE