The line between professionalism and pettiness

PITTSBURGH - APRIL 14: Head coach Cory Clouston of the Ottawa Senators addresses the media after Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Mellon Arena on April 14, 2010 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Senators defeated the Penguins 5-4. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

"I don't want to be accused by some blogger of having a vendetta against Cory Clouston, so I'll just say that, uh, and not that it matters what that person thinks anyway, but Cory Clouston was an excuse machine after every game. It was never his fault."

Above are the words of Ottawa Sun columnist Bruce Garrioch on the TEAM 1200 last Friday (about 1:29 into the clip), which one would assume is referencing yours truly and citing a blog post written a little over a month ago about Garrioch's quizzical grudge against former Ottawa Senators goaltender Brian Elliott.

Let me, first off, be clear about something: I have no problem with Bruce Garrioch personally. I've never met the guy, and all I know of him is what I've gathered by reading and listening to his reports in the media, but I'm sure he's a friendly guy with whom it'd be fun to talk hockey. Nor do I have a problem with criticism, when done fairly and with respect, and criticism is a huge part of the job for a sports analyst.

What I have a problem with, and what many critics of Garrioch and the Sun have a problem with, are unprofessional comments. There is a very clear line between professional criticism and personal character attacks. Garrioch has shown the ability to offer fair and respectful criticism; in fact, he did so in the above-linked comments about Clouston. But my post about his vendetta--and I can think of no better word to describe it--against Elliott outlined eight very obvious instances where Garrioch crossed that line and, for whatever reason, started attacking Elliott personally.

As a final comment to Garrioch, I'll simply say this: If you don't want "some blogger" to accuse you of lacking professionalism, then act like a professional. It's pretty straightforward.

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