Hockey News Podcast Gets Voracek “Weaselgate” Wrong

Like everybody in hockey, the Hockey News Podcast gang is talking about the Flyers’ January 15th postgame press conference, in which Philly right winger Jakub Voracek called reporter Mike Sielski “such a weasel it’s not even funny.”

Voracek is dead wrong here, by the way — it actually is pretty funny, especially when you watch it back with Travis Konecny’s reaction in frame. See the exchange here (note there is some coarse language, if you are sensitive to that sort of thing):

In the Hockey News conversation, Ryan Kennedy noted how the parameters of pressers in the age of Covid make it impossible for players and reporters to have any back-and-forth dialogue. A writer asks a question, and then goes on mute with everybody else so the player can answer. Therefore he says “the guy didn’t really have any chance to retort.”

(Further, he suggests the remote format makes it easier for players to turn hostile witness like Voracek did. He asks “would Voracek have said that in a scrum?” This is hilarious to me. Like an elite athlete in a contact sport is going to shrink at some ink-slinging weenie’s dare to “say that to my face.”)

Hosting the podcast, Matt Larkin echoes Kennedy’s concerns. “I do think there’s that extra power when, you know, the reporter can’t respond,” he says. “My only worry is that players will use the mute function of Zoom to kind of like dunk on guys without any repurcussion.”

With respect, this is a terrible take. Sportswriters don’t have to get the last word in the room in order to have their say. They already have exclusive access to the highest-visibility platforms there are. They are the media for crying out loud. Muting them on the team’s postgame call won’t exactly muzzle them. Kennedy and Larkin are dangerously close to Marjorie Taylor Green territory here — the self-unaware conspiracy-minded congresswoman who felt “censored” while speaking to the nation live on network television from the center of our federal government.

Sielski spoke with Crossing Broad yesterday about the backstory of Voracek’s beef.

Listen to the Hockey News Podcast below. The Voracek segment is right at the beginning.

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