Boston broadcaster Jack Edwards compares hockey player to assassin

Pittsburgh Pebguins Matt Cooke

During the nationally televised NHL game between the Penguins and Bruins on Saturday, Boston announcer Jack Edwards compared Penguins Matt Cooke to Sirhan Sirhan.

Edwards first said that Cooke, “assassinated the career of Marc Savard” and followed up with, "Nominating Cooke for the Masterton is the equivalent of nominating Sirhan Sirhan as the prisoner of the year."

Edwards blames Matt Cooke of the Pittsburgh Penguins for ending the career of injured Boston center Marc Savard.

Sirhan Sirhan was convicted in 1969 for the assassination of United States Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

Edwards is a regional announcer for Boston based NESN. The feed of the game was being carried nationwide by the NHL network because of the significance of two of the top teams in the conference playing each other.  The game was also significant because it had been postponed and rescheduled in the aftermath of the Boston bombings.

With the world trying to relax a bit from the events of the week, and turning to sports to do that, comparing Cooke to the man who murdered Senator Robert Kennedy was as out of touch, insensitive, and tasteless, as one could get.

At first Edwards responded to his critics on Twitter a bit defiantly.

1:10 PM - 20 Apr 13  @RealJackEdwards tweeted, "Did not compare Cooke to a terrorist. Check your dictionary definitions before you run off the handle. Or just stop following."

Maybe the NHL saw things a little differently, as nine minutes later Edwards began to tweet a series of apologies.

1:29 PM - 20 Apr 13 · "I am sorry for insulting Matt Cooke, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the National Hockey League, and anyone else upset by my Cooke comments."

The hit that angers Edwards by Matt Cooke put on Boston center Marc Savard in 2010, was not considered out of line at the time. No disciplinary action was taken by the league for the hit.

Accidents happen in hockey, players get hurt. Jack Edwards needs to look no further than his own team to prove the other side of the argument. In 2011, Max Pacioretty of the Montreal Canadiens suffered a fracture to the 4th cervical vertebra (C4) and a severe concussion from a hit delivered by Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara.

Too little too late for Edwards? 

Comparing a professional hockey player to a convicted assassin days after the Boston bombings was more than a little tasteless.

Edwards tweeted several apologies and also made a statement during the game, but was it too little, too late?
Some colorful broadcasters go over the top in gushing pride in their team. Broadcasters need to realize that many people turn to sports to relax, and to unwind from the stress of our world.

Being a fan is not necessarily a bad thing.  You can still have your heroes, and be passionate about your favorite teams, just keep it all into perspective.

It's only sports.


Photo of Pittsburgh Penguins Matt Cooke
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