Look, it's not often that we at Hockey Wilderness criticize players. To be sure, we offer our opinion on their play, or on the level of talent they may or may not posses. However, we generally steer away from directly criticizing that player as a person, or for what they do off the ice.
Hopefully all of you have picked up on the story from any number of sites. The best recaps of the issue can be found at Puck Daddy, and from Hockey Joe over at ProHockeyTalk. Please head over there for those opinions, and then make the jump for mine. Also, share yours in the comment section.
This story will be everywhere today, and we apologize up front if you don't want to read yet another take on it. We are simply providing the story, an opinion, and giving you a place to discuss it, should you choose to do so.
For those who are out side the loop, Dan Ellis, back-up goaltender extraordinaire, made some rather... shall we say... non-thought-out-real-well comments on Twitter. For example:
If you lost 18% of your income would you be happy? I can honestly say that I am more stressed about money now then when I was in college.
That tweet started it all, and Ellis continued to try and dig his way out of the hole:
I can't explain it and I never thought it would be the case but it is true. $ in no way makes u more happy or makes life much easier.
If you don't make a lot of money I don't expect u to understand in the same way I could never understand what it is like to risk my life
Daily as a fire fighter or police officer...especially not a soldier. There r pros and cons to every profession. U r kidding yourself..
If u think money makes things any easier.
The response from his followers was exactly what his agent, his teammates, or my third grade daughter could have told him it would be. People from all walks of life making fun and pointing out just how ridiculous it is to complain about money when you make $1.5 million to be a backup goalie.
If you haven't already, read Wysh and Hockey Joe's post. They detail out where to find the comedy that sprung from all of this, and it is truly worth it. For what may be the first time in my life, I engaged the filter between my brain and my keyboard and did not join in. We'll call it growth.
Here is my take on this:
Ellis has been one of the better NHL player follows on Twitter. He does not tell us he is going to the rink to skate or what he had for breakfast. He has been candid, and that is greatly appreciated. However, being candid, and putting your foot so far into your mouth that your colon gets concerned is not a good idea.
For the record, I respect his right to say whatever he wants, and I recognize that even people with money have problems. I agree with him, to a point, when he says that you are "kidding yourself if u think money makes things any easier." Money is that the cure all for everything that is wrong in life. It will not make people love you, and it does not provide as much happiness as many believe it does. Money does solve one of the major problems that many people in the world have, though. That problem? Not having money.
Money provides the means to purchase food, it provides the means to provide our families with shelter and security. It provides the means to clothe ourselves and even to provide education. For the vast majority of his followers, and people in general, money is simply a means to provide the fundamentals to stay alive. For far too many in this world, money cannot even provide that.
What Mr. Ellis failed to realize is just how many people out there don't care about how difficult it is to manage large sums of money. It is, and I went to school to learn how to do it. Now all I need is the money to manage, and I'm all set. It's not that we don't understand, Dan, it's that we don't care. We're too busy worrying about if we should buy ourselves a new pair of $20 sneakers or if we should wait until next month so that our kids can have new shoes first. In other words... you want to know what is more difficult to manage than large sums of money? Small sums of money.
Sure, anyone who is reading Hockey Wilderness is doing much better than the people mentioned a couple paragraphs up. Anyone who has access to the web, and the time to partake in such frivolities as reading a hockey blog, likely is not starving. However, I am willing to bet there are readers that need to budget very carefully in order to retain that luxury, and I am certain we have lost readers due to the inability to pay the internet bill.
After making one comment on Twitter last night, I was challenged to back off, since Mr. Ellis was supposedly right. That if my financial house was not in order, that I should not be throwing stones, and that he has the right to discuss whatever he wants in whatever manner he deems fit.
I do not disagree.
My financial house is mostly in order, as would be the case with most people in this country. Sure, there's some dirty laundry lying around, but nothing an extra $1.5 million couldn't clean up. I have made my choices in life, and continue to deal with the consequences of those choices (both positive and negative). I have few complaints about money. I understand I will never be able to afford the Shelby 500 Mustang I want. I understand I will never be able to purchase everything I want to buy. Would it be nice to have those things? Sure would, but my life is full without them.
The thing that bothered me most was when I was told that Mr. Ellis has the right to complain about money if he wants to, but then I am told that I should not criticize him for doing so. Sorry... it's a two way street. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences for that speech. If you believe it does, you are deluded.
Perhaps he deserves freedom from criticism because he is rich and famous. I disagree, and if anyone else would have said the same thing, they would have met with the same response.
Mr. Ellis touched a nerve, and made one of the most remarkably stupid comments some one of means can make in an economy that is as bad as nearly everyone alive has ever seen. The lesson here is not "keep your mouth shut." The lesson, as Hockey Joe said, is "know your audience." Want to complain about how bad it sucks to lose 18% of your million dollar paycheck? Call a teammate, your union rep, or your agent. Don't turn to the wage slaves living with choices of who gets shoes first.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Ellis tweeted this:
RT @HockeyBroad: @33dellis What is the "K3" seal on the back plate of your mask?...wife and kids all start with K. Nothing more important!
If it were me, I would have stuck with that, Dan.