Photo credit: Getty Images/NHL
On a fairly tame July 1st this year, the most notable thing that happened on the first day of free agency was not a player signing, but TSN opening fire on free agent Alex Semin with what bordered on xenophobic hate speech. The worst offender, former NHL Head Coach Marc Crawford, called Semin “a complete loser” and said that he had “no character”. If you haven’t seen the video, it’s worth reviewing here.
The next day, Crawford did us all a favor and left the continent, accepting a head coaching position with the ZSC [Zurich] Lions in Switzerland. Hooray! We thought we’d never have to watch him on TV or hear his commentary ever again.
We were wrong.
This week, Crawford did an interview with the German newspaper Tages Anzeiger, discussing his Alex Semin rant when asked how he grades a player’s character strength with Semin being cited as an example. Sports.ru translated the German article, and I’ve translated the Russian into English below.
You know, my words about Semin were misinterpreted. I compared Alexander to Zach Parise, one of the best players in the NHL, including in this sense [character strength]. Semin is a great player but he’s still got a lot to learn. And I, to be honest, wish him all the best.
About your question: people with a strong character are consistent, permanent in a good way, they are professional. When I watched Zurich’s games in the playoffs, I figured out right away that our captain Mathias Seger is a man of spirit. He’s smart, he feels the game. I like guys like him. Not many can do things he does.
While this is the first time we’ve seen Crawford back off his words, we’re curious what definition of “misinterpreted” he’s using. The TSN broadcast was live, uncut, and the panel was discussing only Parise and Semin at the time.
Crawford also went on to reveal that he interviewed for the Capitals’ vacant heading coaching position in the spring. That is scary news.
I’m sure Marc Crawford is a credible hockey coach, but he’s still got a lot to learn about the English language and how to be unbiased and responsible for his words. And we, to be honest, wish him all the best.