McCown vs. MacLean: Will there be a rematch?
There's an old joke about a guy turning on the TV to watch a fight and instead a hockey game broke out.
Well, Thursday I turned on the TV to watch this new Bob McCown-Sportsnet Connected hybrid and a fight broke out. For the record, my verdict on the McCown-Connected thing is that despite what Sportsnet says, this is about saving money. It's basically an extra hour of the radio-show-on-TV with a few updates about nothing because nothing's happening at 5 p.m.
My verdict on the fight, featuring McCown and hockey commentator Doug MacLen, isn't quite as simple.
For those who didn't see it on Sportsnet, hear it on the FAN 590 or catch it on the FAN's website, it was the radio/TV equivalent of a barroom brawl. The subject was the revelation that MacLean, who sort of has a show on the FAN, had gone to work for NHL wannabe owner Jim Balsillie. McCown and co-host Stephen Brunt kind of noted that this was the same Balsillie that MacLean had been ripping for some time.
That's when the gloves came off.
``You've crossed over a line that your drew pretty clearly in the sand," McCown said, not hiding his distaste for MacLean's flip-flop.
MacLean called that statement ``idiotic" and accused McCown of doing some flip-flopping of his own.
He then said McCown was attacking him to drive up ratings, which really seemed to set off McCown.
After saying that MacLean always turns discussions into personal attacks, McCown effectively banned him from the show. ``As long as I sit in this chair, that will be the last time I have Doug MacLean on this show," he said. ``He is what he is, and he is exactly what I thought he was."
You don't hear stuff that strong in most broadcast interviews. To hear it when the two main combatants work for the same people is even more unusual.
Some listeners have suggested the whole brouhaha was staged to promote MacLean's new gig and the expanded McCown TV show. If it was, all three parties involved should be nominated for Oscars. The anger was legitimate.
But was it proper? It was a little uncomfortable to watch, but it was also gripping. Radio is all about strong opinions. My only complaint about this was that it did get personal, and that shouldn't happen. But it was pretty entertaining while it lasted.
FAN GM Nelson Millman said he had no problem with it and suggests it was nothing out of the ordinary. ``It wasn't that unusual," he said. ``People obviously forget Pat Marsden calling Don Landry a ``little SOB." Marsden and former co-host John Derringer also got into it regularly.
But the bigger issue is a potential conflict of interest involving MacLean. How can he be a hockey commentator while working for a potential NHL owner?
``Doug and I discussed that and as long he understands that he can't use our station to promote his personal agendas, we have no problem," Millman said. ``We've all got conflicts. But if he attacks the NHL unfairly, that's another matter."
I'll assume McCown will indeed ban MacLean from Prime Time Sports. That means it will be up to MacLean to schedule a rematch. Don't hold your breath.