Saturday, October 18, 2008

 

"They want all the fans to be like rabbits and sheep"

Flashback: March 1, 2007
Robert Vaughan used orange duct tape to spell out “Trade Lowe” on the back of his jersey when he attended the Oilers-Phoenix Coyotes game Tuesday night at Rexall Place.

He says he was stopped and taken to a small room in the bowels of the arena where two men, identifying themselves as representatives of the Oilers, told him the sign was offensive to management. “They want all the fans to be like rabbits and sheep,” said Vaughan, who’s owned season tickets for six years and is considering whether to renew them. “I feel violated.”

Moments after he and his nephew walked into the main concourse, he says he was tapped on the shoulder by two men in suits. They identified themselves as representatives of the Oilers and asked Vaughan and his nephew to accompany them.

Vaughan says they were taken to a room where the men told him to rip off the duct tape. He said he refused and tried walking to the door, when one of the broad-shouldered men blocked it. “He bluntly said I was not going to leave with that written on my back,” said Vaughan. “I said, ‘Are you threatening me?’ ”

[...]“I’m choked,” Vaughan said. “I’m extremely disappointed and I want a letter of apology from the Oilers. I bleed copper and blue. They took away my freedom of speech.” [...] “I was venting,” he said.

The Oilers did not return repeated phone calls yesterday.

This is what came to mind when I read Dave's account of being turfed from the Rexall pressbox for having the gall to update Covered in Oil while officially being there on other business.

Not to say I don't care about it, but the issues of New Media, This is the 21st Century, etc. are drums for others to beat, and if you scroll down to Links To This Post at the bottom of Dave's piece, you'll see that they're being beaten. Although it's worth underlining that, while Dave was reluctant to be categorical about it, it's as clear as Kevin Lowe's rapidly receding hairline that the problem was what Dave was writing, i.e. the exact same irreverent and unvarnished takes for which he is known and beloved, not that he was live-blogging. If he just was live-blogging scoring chances and who "looks sharp out there", he wouldn't have been touched -- no more than someone with EBERLE4EVER duck-taped to the back of his sweater would be called down into the bowels.

More than anything else, I just feel lousy for Dave. Apart from the fact that this was a pain in the ass professionally, there is no worse thing as a fan of a pro sports team than to be unavoidably confronted with the fact that, at root, it's extremely stupid. You're rooting for a private business who in the end will do whatever they damn well please for their own reasons, and occasionally exhibit, to use an old Cosh phrase, "the priggish imperiousness of a cop or civil servant".

And as much as I'd love to make this into a BoA-style "your poo stinks and mine doesn't" thing... no. There's a reason I've never attempted to contact the Flames organization, get a press pass, an interview, or the like. Actually, there's two reasons, the first of which is that I like this blog the way it is: it's personal, I don't owe anyone any favours, and I don't have to abide by anyone's rules and guidelines but my own.

But the other reason is that I really don't want to know what the response would be; I have no interest in them assessing the value (or not) of my contributions to Flames fandom, and I don't wish to be eyeballed skeptically like some kind of saboteur and/or troublemaking teenager. Like Dave was. He'll be missed and CiO won't be the same without him.

Comments:

Yep, I'm gonna miss that turd muffin.
 


Hear, hear.
 


I understand that they objected to the tone of the live blog -- let's be honest, here, it was unprofessional and probably not the sort of thing you should advertise that you're writing from the press box -- but throwing him out was more than a bit much here.

Because, really, he could have been irreverent and honest without snide shots at upper brass and F-bombs.
 


I'm going to miss Covered in Oil's constant sexual tension. Mike and Chris! have some shoes to fill.
 


That sounds like unlawful confinement. Trade Lowe ought to Hire Lawyer.
 


"Trade Lowe" can't hire a lawyer, he was on Oiler's property in Oilers' clothing trademarked with Oilers' logos.
 


"Trade Lowe" can't hire a lawyer, he was on Oiler's property in Oilers' clothing trademarked with Oilers' logos.

I hope to god that this is an unfunny joke.
 


Well that's my understanding of it. It's like vandalising Legal Tender. I guess what I meant was that he can hire a lawyer all he wants but it won't do much if anything.

I should have been more clear.
 


let's be honest, here, it was unprofessional and probably not the sort of thing you should advertise that you're writing from the press box

Unprofessional? Well then there's a bunch of unprofessional reporters out there, because tons of people do it. See Sager's post for a handful of examples.
 


Whether or not they could kick out of the game would depend on the terms of the arrangement with him. It would require interpretation of the terms on the back of the ticket. They're usually pretty far-reaching but I know if they're that broad.

I can't imagine that there's anything that would permit them to lock him in a room for 25 minutes when he hasn't committed any sort of offence.
 


Excellent blurb, Matt.
 


I can't imagine that there's anything that would permit them to lock him in a room for 25 minutes when he hasn't committed any sort of offence.

I didn't realise that they had him in the room for 25 minutes. That's rather unlawful, isn't it?
 


Yeah, just a little bit. If Trade Lowe was a bit more litigious, thta would have been a fun small claims case.
 


Now the question is:

How does "Trade Lowe" prove what he needs to prove? Just curious. I believe him, but the judge might not.
 


He swears an oath and gives his evidence. The persons who kept him in the room would have a chance to give their evidence. The judge would then decide.
 


Unprofessional? Well then there's a bunch of unprofessional reporters out there, because tons of people do it.

I meant the tone, obviously. You did read the second paragraph, right?
 


@raventalon40: I'm sorry, maybe its the fact that I grew up in the United States and still live there, but a fan will do what a fan will do, and it is their right as a paying customer to complain about the way their favorite team is handling matters. Mangement finds it offensive? The truth hurts, doesn't it Lowe? I'm a Penguins fan first as I grew up outside of Pittsburgh, but the Oilers have been another one of my favorite teams for several years. That being said, I haven't paid them much mind since Lowe took over and just started forking out the cash for any slightly above avereage player that came along in the off-season. I don't know how well you Canadians follow baseball, especially in Western Canada where there are no MLB teams, so this point might miss the mark. The professional baseball team in my beloved home city of Pittsburgh has been a disgrace for the last 17 years, with 17 consecutive losing seasons. People are showing up to the games with bags over their face and shirts that read "Irate Fan" instead of "Pirate Fan" Granted they aren't on officially team licensed merchandise, but do they get kicked out? No. Honestly, the Oilers organization should have the joke on the fan who had the Trade Lowe in duct tape on his jersey because he gave money to the team by buying it and going to the game.

On the more serious note, I believe they revoked Dave Berry's press pass for blogging so they could sell that press box to the highest bidder to continue to overplay for players who don't live up to their salary.

Please people, do not hate me for saying these things, I still have some love for the Oilers, but they are doing things wrong and you the fans should not put up with it. Please take this is an outsider's non-tainted view of your beloved team's front office. Good day.
 



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(法新社倫敦四日電) 英國情色大亨芮孟的公司昨天說,芮孟日前去世,享壽八十二歲;色情色情影片位身價成人影片上億的房地產開發商,曾經在倫敦推出第一場脫衣舞表演。


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