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Should This Hockey Broadcaster Be in Trouble for His 9/11 Reference?


"They are like police officers, they are like firefighters."

Let's try something different. Watch this clip, and see if anything strikes you as odd:

So, did anything stand out? In case you'd rather read it, here's what he said:

"It's crazy to compare to what the emergency responders did during that time, but a spirit has to start somewhere and as you enjoy this series between the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals, Game 6 coming up, 3-2 New York, you can't help but be struck by the players and the way they've played these games. They are like police officers, they are like firefighters. You can't fight fire with ego, Brad (Richards) knows that. The pain these men have faced, the price they keep on paying, the hearts they keep on lifting."

If you said the broadcaster's Canadian accent, that will work. But if you said the broadcaster's reference to 9/11 and comparing the hockey players to first responders, you would be part of the growing group of people wondering why Canadian broadcaster Ron MacLean thought it was a good idea to intro a hockey game with a lengthy analogy to 9/11 and the emergency workers immortalized on that day.

The reference occurred Wednesday night on CBC's "Hockey Night in America," before the Washington Capitals took on the New York Rangers. As soon as MacLean finished the intro, he was immediately lampooned on Twitter. HuffPo captured some of the tweets:

Deadspin called it a "torturous" comparison and noted the irony of MacLean saying "it is crazy to compare what the emergency responders did in that time," but then going on "to do exactly that."

And CBC must have felt uncomfortable about it to. MacLean and the network released a statement clarifying the remarks:

As Hockey Night In Canada went to air for last night's game between Washington and New York, in his opening remarks, Ron MacLean described the on-going battle between the two teams and made reference to the respective cities, both of which were 9/11 targets.

Ron and CBC would like to clarify what may have been misunderstood by his comments.

"Washington and New York.  The two cities united by the tragedy of 9/11. I, like everyone on the planet in his or her lifetime, saw beyond the horror, the single greatest testament to the strength of the human spirit in the efforts of the first responders", says Ron Maclean.

"We never know if we'll have that spirit. The bravery, the resilience. As I made clear, the hockey games in no way compare. However Sports has proven a worthy training ground in nurturing the qualities which beget that spirit. To say he plays like a firefighter or a policeman would instantly conjure the traits an athlete most desires, especially in New York and Washington. There could be no higher praise of a player, no greater choice of a role model .

But as I said of first responders, 'Our worst day is their everyday'. They stand alone."

So what do you think? Does MacLean deserve the backlash? Was what he said outrageous? Just awkward? Simply bad TV? Take our poll below.

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