The Unsanitized Version
Every once in a while people in sports drop the cliches and the company line and actually speak their minds.
It happened twice this week.
At the U.S. Open in New York, Serbian star Novak Djokovic was exultant in his hardfought victory over American Andy Roddick after Roddick had, either jokingly or otherwise, essentially accused Djokovic of faking injuries to get time outs during matches.
Interviewed on court afterwards, Djokovic made special mention of beating Roddick in the U.S. at his favourite tournament, then blasted Roddick for turning the crowd against him with the injury accusations.
"That was not nice," said Djokovic.
As the crowd booed, Djokovic didn't back down and try to play nice in the sandbox, but instead continued to lament Roddick's pre-match comments.
"You guys (the crowd) are against me because they think I'm faking everything," said Djokovic, a fan favourite at last year's events for doing on-court impressions of Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova.
Gutsy, and now we'll see how he's greeted for tomorrow's semifinal against Roger Federer.
Former Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella, meanwhile, let his hair down in an interview on Ottawa radio, the gist of which was subsequently picked up by the St. Petersburg Times, in which he blasted the new Lightning ownership team of Oren Koules and Len Barrie as "a couple of cowboys."
"I have zero respect for them," said Tortorella.
Tortorella accused Koules and Barrie of "lying" to the traded Dan Boyle, said they were trying "to reinvent the wheel" in Tampa and suggested the acquisition of defenceman Andrej Meszaros from the Senators was "a hell of a deal for Ottawa."
Just settin' 'em up and knockin' 'em down, folks. Wonder what the next owner who considers hiring Tortorella will think of those spicy words.
Tortorella, interestingly, has just signed on as an analyst for TSN, essentially replacing the departed Mike Milbury, another outspoken hockey man. Tortorella, however, told the Tampa Tribune that viewers may have a mistaken impression of what he's like.
"There's this perception of me that I'm some kind of ranting and raving lunatic and all I do is rip people, but that's not the case," he said.
That must have been the "filter on" day.