If you’re going to throw stones, expect them to be thrown back. The concept of the bully against the victim has been observed with the Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf saga as targets of sports media. When the Leafs were thriving, as seen throughout the shortened 2013 season, Kessel and Phaneuf were major keystones to the Leafs. The two weren’t highly criticized for their performance, but now that the team is 25th of 30 in the NHL, the two highest paid players of the Toronto Maple Leafs are facing unfair criticism for their 2014-15 campaign.

I first saw the bias of criticism emerging from a Twitter feed that was a commentary of an analyst’s comments about Phil Kessel. Kessel had told a media scrum that he was fed up with the embarrassing treatment of his friend and captain of the Leafs, Dion Phaneuf. The sports analyst had ranted with the following (summarized) comments:

“Kessel has underachieved and isn’t worth his ten million dollar paycheck. Kessel shouldn’t be telling the media how to do their job. Kessel should walk inside a house of mirrors, look around the room and at himself, where he should ask if he’s accountable for what’s transpired over the season. It all goes back to Kessel’s altercation with a newspaper reporter, with him asking insistently if the firing of coach Randy Carlyle was his fault.”

The 2014-2015 Leafs vs sports media altercations began when a newspaper reporter consistently asked Phil Kessel in January of 2015 if the firing of Randy Carlyle was because Kessel is hard to coach. Kessel responded, demanding three times in succession if the reporter thinks it was his fault. As he left the scrum, Kessel told the reporter that he had never seen any media personnel disrespecting the players like said person had. This first altercation was a sign that Kessel wasn’t afraid of stepping up against the disrespectful members of the Toronto sport media.

In regards to Tuesday’s comments on Kessel’s performance and his backlash against the media, the sports analyst ranted that Kessel should not be telling the media how to do their job, and should only worry about his performance during a game. The analyst’s comments were highly contradictory; the analyst is telling Kessel what to do, yet doesn’t want to be criticized. If the bully (the sports media) is going to throw stones, expect the stones to be thrown back. The analyst expects that Kessel shouldn’t be living in a glass house. Instead, Kessel has a brick house with glass windows and is fighting against the breaking of his windows.

The saga between the media and Phil Kessel probably could have been prevented if the players had a stronger performance during the 2014-2015 season. Kessel and Phaneuf could obviously player better, but the architects of the team should add better players in order for these top players to thrive purposefully. If anyone throws stones, expect them to eventually be thrown back. The victim cannot take all the abuse with not fight.

Here is Steve Dangle’s Leafs Fan Reaction video following the win against the Florida Panthers as he provides his intelligence on the situation:


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