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The Salt Lake Tribune
A couple of bad things happened to the Nashville Predators on Sunday. First, they lost Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who claimed their second straight championship.
And, second, at least one of the Nashville fans made the franchise — maybe even the city — look kind of bad on TV. Or, rather, sound kind of bad on TV, tossing f-bombs at an NBC analyst while he was on the air.
It's not like f-bombs aren't a part of daily life. ABC let one on the air on Tuesday when the Golden State Warriors were celebrating their NBA title. After that, ABC leaned hard and long on the bleep button.
But there's a difference between celebrating and berating.
NBC analyst Mike Milbury has been extremely hard on Nashville's P.K. Subban throughout the playoffs. During the Predators' second-round series against St. Louis last month, he criticized the defenseman for dancing a bit during warmups, repeatedly calling him "a clown" and suggesting his coach should "maybe give him a rap on the head."
And in response to an incident during Game 5 of the Final when Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby repeatedly slammed Subban's head against the ice, Milbury said, "It was cagey, and Subban had it coming."
Milbury played in the NHL for a dozen years and coached both the Bruins and the Islanders. I don't claim any hockey expertise, but I can certainly understand why Nashville fans were unhappy.
Subban "had it coming"? That's an incredibly irresponsible statement.
Not surprisingly, a lot of Nashville fans were furious and called for Milbury's job.
NBC was clearly concerned about having one of its analysts be the focus of so much hatred. NBC Sports had people at the arena on Sunday — both outside during the pregame and inside during the game — trying to convince fans with anti-Milbury signs to trade them for free hats. Free NBC Sports hats, that is.
That could've been smart if the fans has been offered Predators hats. But this was a little sad and more than a little hilarious. Hmmm I can taunt NBC or get an NBC hat. Really?
Things went over the top during NBC's postgame when one Nashville fan became more than a bit unglued. The fan startled Milbury, bellowing that the NBC analyst is a "dumb piece of s---" and telling him to "get the f--- out of Nashville. F--- you!"
Understandable, but not exactly eloquent. And it didn't exactly reflect well on the Predators or Nashville.
I am by no means arguing that sportscasters are above criticism. Hey, I do it all the time. And I get criticized myself. It goes with the territory.
But shouting obscenities like that is bush league under any circumstances. And shouting them so they'll be heard on television is not exactly classy.
Be mad. Make signs. Don't take a dumb bribe of a free hat.
But don't toss f-bombs on live TV. It makes the story about you instead of about Milbury.
ROOT becomes AT&T Seven years ago, the cable outlet that is the home of the Utah Jazz went through a lot of time and a lot of money to rebrand itself as ROOT Sports.
Ho, hum. Other than the odd capitalization, it was no big deal.
Now, ROOT is about to become AT&T Sports Networks. Because it belongs to AT&T. Which makes sense.
And it is no big deal. Nothing will change but the name.
At least capitalizing AT&T makes sense.
Scott D. Pierce covers TV for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at email@example.com; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.
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