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Roenick upset over ESPN editing



Published: Thu, June 30, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Flyer did a live interview with Dan Patrick to quell the criticism.

KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS

PHILADELPHIA -- After two days of seeing himself on television sports shows telling hockey fans where to plant their lips, Jeremy Roenick went on a different kind of offensive.

Appearing on ESPN, Roenick took issue with the editors of the all-sports network, claiming they chose to show only the portions of an interview he did over the weekend that showed him insulting fans and telling them to stay away from the rinks.

"I went on only on the condition that it was live," Roenick said. "I didn't want to give their editors a chance to cut and splice what I had to say and misrepresent what I said."

Roenick was referring to portions of an interview he did at a golf tournament sponsored by Mario Lemieux last weekend in suburban Pittsburgh.

During the interview, Roenick was asked what he would say to the fans who believed that players were greedy and spoiled and forced the lockout that cost the NHL a full season because they were in it for the money.

The Flyers center was shown answering that those fans could "kiss my ass," and went on to say that he didn't want them in the arenas when the game resumed.

Bad response

Roenick was hammered across North America for the comments and has been explaining himself ever since. In addition to ESPN, Roenick also has done call-ins to radio and television stations across the country.

During the live interview on ESPN with Dan Patrick, Roenick said that if he were approached by a fan who called him greedy and blamed him for the lockout, he said, "I would say the same thing."

Patrick defended the network's use of the quotes, portraying them as more newsworthy than comments Roenick and Lemieux made about the impending deal.

What was clear during the ESPN interview, and some of the others he has done, is that Roenick is bothered by the impact his comments are having on his image as a fan-friendly player.

However, Roenick said that not everyone who heard the comments saw them as negative.

"I'm actually getting more positive calls, from radio stations in St. Louis, Atlanta, Phoenix, people that I know," Roenick said. "Every time they call me, I'm getting a positive response.

"But the thing is, I'm not looking for a positive response. Everything I said was misrepresented by ESPN. What I said was we need to get a deal together, not for the players, not for the owners but for the fans.

Out of context

"They didn't show what the question was that got me riled up and that was: What about the fans who are not going to come back because they believe the players are greedy? There is a certain group of fans that totally despise pro athletes because of what they make and so forth.

"But there is not a pro athlete that tries to do as much for the fans or enjoys playing in front of the fans than I do. I like to engage the fans, I like to make them smile, and I like to shake their hands.

"There is nothing I would do or say that would tell them not to come back. I was totally misrepresented because an editor in ESPN's cutting room wanted to play to the negative, which was totally disrespectful to me after everything I have done for ESPN. It totally does not represent my personality."




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