Midway through John Carver's first season in Toronto, we've all grown used to him going off... on the CSA for not playing the TFC players he loans them...on Guillermo Barros Schelotto for diving... on officials for bad calls, blown calls and disrespect.
During the news conference following TFC's 0-0 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes, Carver went off again.
On the media.
I won't detail his first rant here because I know Cathal Kelly is covering it in his column for Sunday's paper, but midway through the news conference Carver challenged a reporter to tell him whether the local media want Toronto teams to win.
I'm summarizing here when I say the reporter replied (correctly) that his job is to ask questions, not to answer them and that he was just trying to do his job. They butted heads a while more before agreeing to disagree. The reporter left the conference to grab quotes from other people.
Before we continue, and since this is a discussion forum and not a news conference, I'll answer Carver's question here.
I can't speak for reporters on other beats, but every reporter who enjoys covering soccer secretly wants TFC to make the playoffs and play well once there.
Yes, we're supposed to be objective and I try my best not to come off as a homer, but I also understand that the soccer beat is a minor one at major papers in this market. That means mainstream media will cover TFC as long as they're either winning or setting records for goal scoring droughts.
But give big media in this market a reason to stop paying attention (by, say, missing the playoffs), and they'll gladly scale back coverage, and cover TFC the way they cover the Marlies -- which is hardly at all.
So yeah, part of this reporter wants TFC to do well. Working this beat has raised my profile both inside and outside the newsroom and allowed me to collect some Aeroplan points. But most importantly, it's fun.
Even when Carver's going off on me.
And did he ever go off Saturday night.
He singled me out, saying he took issue with something I'd written for Friday's paper:
Since then TFC has shone at times. On a sweltering April Sunday in Los Angeles they defeated the Galaxy on Jeff Cunningham's late goal.
Other times, though, they've stunk, earning just three of their 21 points on the road.
What, I thought to myself, did I have to do with the team winning just once on the road? Three points out of a possible 18 on the road sure isn't shining, and that's why I said it stinks.
In a packed news conference, the following exchange ensued:
John Carver -- That's a great comment, innit? That's gonna get everybody on our sides, innit?
Morgan Campbell -- You're 1-5 on the road, John. I'm not the one out there playing.
JC -- No, I understand that, but what I'm saying is, why do you have to go and write crap like that?
MC -- One and five on the road, John.
JC -- And we're playing at home...I think I've made my point. It's dead easy going on a website and looking for your questions to ask from supporters groups.
MC -- John, I write the good, I write the bad.
JC -- Yeah, but you never turn up on a Monday when we win. Monday's your day off.
Yes. A lot of times, it is. Has nothing to do with wins and losses. I'm not disappearing on Monday in a dastardly effort to deprive TFC of good press.
It's about a union contract that mandates a five-day work week and a hefty overtime rate for anything beyond that. Now, some folks in this business make a ton of money, but nobody's trying to see me join that list just yet, so for now I work five days a week.
Now don't think I'm trying to bash Carver here, because I'm not. He said later in the news conference that things would be back to normal by the next practice, even for the reporters he lambasted. And I believe him.
Thing is, I never took any of it personally, and I told Carver as much in the locker room after he had calmed down a little.
I write, people read. Sometimes they don't like it and they lash out. I get called all kind of names, but I really don't mind it. For me, it's never personal. It's just part of the job.
For him, too.
I can't call myself a journalist, then only write the truth when the truth flatters TFC. It's not the media's job to cheerlead for the team and Carver told me he understands that.
Again, I believe him.
I don't go out of my way to give people bad press, but I've got to be honest with readers, with sources and with myself.
So was it a little harsh to say TFC stinks at times?
But again, I've got to be honest.
And honestly, 1-5 on the road speaks for itself.
-- Morgan Campbell