By now you’ve seen the video of Jake Voracek ripping Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Mike Sielski.

If you haven’t, you must be living under a rock, because not only was it all over Philadelphia sports media, but it went national, too. The New York Post picked it up. Awful Announcing. The Big Lead. It was a slam dunk, viral video because Voracek called Sielski a “weasel” who writes “fucking shit.”

We got in touch with Mike on Friday night, who told us his side of the story and explained that he thinks the animosity stems from a column he wrote a few years ago. Sielski explained that he later tweaked the column and apologized to Flyers PR while offering to speak with Voracek to smooth things over. Obviously that never happened, which led to Voracek’s weekend comments.

To advance the story, here’s Mike’s Inquirer colleague, Sam Carchidi, reporting that the NHL talked to Voracek:

Okay, this is stupid. It’s not necessary for the NHL to be involved.

Let me organize my thoughts into list form:

  1. I think people aren’t totally familiar with the way the media is structured these days. Sam Carchidi is a beat writer, so he covers the team on a daily basis and reports on wins and losses, shares quotes and injury updates, nuts and bolts and whatnot. Sielski is a columnist, and columnists share opinions in their stories. For an Eagles comparison, Sam is more like Jeff McLane while Mike is David Murphy, if that makes sense.
  2. Obviously Mike can write whatever he wants. He’s going to be critical of players and teams when necessary.
  3. Voracek, in my opinion, can respond however he’d like. If a writer is going to rip him, he should be allowed to rip the writer or the publication in return. It’s only fair.
  4. Mike is a grown man.
  5. Jake is a grown man.
  6. Perhaps they can both hash it out at some point, like adults. One of the problems here is that the opportunity to speak face-to-face currently does not exist due to the COVID-19 situation. They can’t meet at practice or in the locker room.

Personally, I think it’s lame that a hockey player shows some personality and now the NHL is reportedly feeling the need to speak with him. Just let it go. There’s nothing here that requires league action. A columnist wrote something about the player, the player didn’t like it, and responded to that. I’m sure if you ask Mike, he would 100% agree that Voracek is justified in sharing his opinion in return. The vast majority of media members are not naive enough to believe that we’re traversing one-way streets.

Some people have asserted that Jake is thin-skinned, and blocks people on Twitter with regularity, but I don’t see how that’s relevant here. It’s true that some athletes do a better job handling criticism than others, but there’s no “by the book” approach to dealing with the media.

Also, we had people up our butts this weekend accusing us of “media cronyism” because they thought we were supporting Mike and taking a side in this debate. As Mike Gundy once said, “that’s not true!” All we did was ask him if he wanted to comment on the story, which he did, and then shared a snippet from the column he wrote two years ago. It’s up to you, the reader, to decide which side to take, if you’re going to take a side at all.

(One final thing, when Sielski does the “My Column:” tweets, those are a joke. He doesn’t seriously think the Flyers should trade Jake Voracek for Kate Smith).