A blog isn't journalism. However, if you're a professional commenting on an issue in your area of expertise then you should be held to a higher standard, even in a blog. Jim Kelley fails in this respect in his Sportsnet.ca blog "The Dope on Suspensions",
). I wish he was just being lazy but he also sold out. Disappointing to say the least because I think he's highly underrated as a commentator and journalist.
Kelley sucks-up to Leaf fans, and in the process sells-out, by questioning whether JFJ has a right to know the timeline surrounding Sean Hill's suspension given Hill's participation in the Isles season-ending run and consequent ouster of the Maple Leafs from post-season play. He fails the reader by asking if anyone has the right to know what substance Hill was suspended for ingesting and his subsequent assertions.
There are a set number of rules as to how this process works, but, like so many other things in the NHL rulebook and bylaws and now its drug policy, they are seldom on the record. Does anyone have a right to know what the substance was?
His question regarding the "right to know what the substance was" and "seldom on the record" accusation is baseless given that the NHL drug policy as outlined on the NHLPA website states:
Test results will be kept confidential. There will be no public announcement of any kind until the appeal process has been exhausted and the final disciplinary determination has been imposed.
Hill was suspended after due process and the notification was made after the final disciplinary determination had been imposed. The time-line is irrelevant because the appeal policy and confidentiality preclude Hill from being excluded from play prior to a final determination.
And Kelley doesn't have the right to know the substance either but if he had visited the NHL.com he would have at least read that Hill was banned "for violating the league's performance-enhancing substances program" and this would have at least cleared-up the fact that Hill wasn't taking bong-hits. (www.nhl.com/nhl/app?artic...NewsPage&service=page
Furthermore, Kelley asserts that the NHL's failure to disclose what the substance was runs counter to other sports since disclosure is ...."universal with regards to drug testing in most sports, but apparently not in the NHL." Wrong again.
The NFL, often cited as being the strictest in professional sports with respect to substance policies goes to great lengths to outline confidentiality of findings and states all parties "shall take reasonable steps to protect the confidentiality of information." The policy also dedicates time to outlining a fine structure associated with confidentiality violations. (www.nflpa.org/pdfs/RulesA...Regs/Drug_Policy_2006.pdf
) But this provision simply follows the overarching American legal requirement regarding medical records confidentiality. So disclosure by professional sports leagues then is not "universal" and, just for those of you asking about baseball - baseball doesn't count in this discussion unless fair play and gambling ethics policies start citing regulations from boxing commissions.
Neil Young's "This note's for you" is ringing loud and clear:
Ain't singin' for Pepsi
Ain't singin' for Coke
I don't sing for nobody
Makes me look like a joke
This note's for you.
So, instead of sucking-up Kelley, well, just suck it up and stop pandering to the hordes of whiners in TO that can't get past the fact that their team just wasn't good enough to make the playoffs.