A non-descript autograph signing has turned into quite the brouhaha in Edmonton where a couple of young players are enduring a public flogging.
We thought it was just one writer who apparently didn’t quite get the idea that players do sometimes make paid autograph appearances. Apparently, the entire province of Alberta isn’t quite up on the concept.
Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano, two young Edmonton Oilers players, sat down for a card show on Sunday. The promoter had established a $25 fee for each autograph. That caught the eye of the Edmonton Sun which actually did a story on the fact the players were being paid.
Tuesday, the paper put the entire saga on its tabloid-like front page while Canada’s National Post printed an editorial that included quotes from the players who said all of the right things publicly but have to be wondering why they’re being singled out over the hundreds of other athletes who commit to paid signings each year.
The subhead indicates the players are ‘weathering the storm’…one started by the paper’s bizarre decision to turn the signing into a story. Tuesday’s Sun story tried to explain the whole autograph show concept in a rather cynical take, indicating "90%" of the people at a show are there to pay for an autograph they’ll flip elsewhere.
"It’s too bad we were put in a situation where we’re looked badly upon," Cogliano told a CanWest news service reporter.
Apparently, though, the deal came about without approval of the Oilers, which has put the team in a tough spot. Eerily similar to Brady Quinn’s paid shopping mall signing last summer which turned into a bizarre mainstream media firestorm, the whole thing has to be enough to send any enterprising player as far away from Edmonton as possible.
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