(Abelimages, Getty Images)

(Abelimages, Getty Images)

Early Wednesday morning, Damien Cox caused a minor stir online with a tweet about a trade offer the Maple Leafs supposedly made for Roberto Luongo at the 2012 draft that Mike Gillis turned down. It had everything Cox could want in 140 characters: two of the biggest hockey markets in Canada, one of the hottest players in the NHL in Nazem Kadri, the ongoing intrigue of the Luongo trade saga, and even a snide put down of an NHL General Manager.

There’s only one problem: none of it was true. For such a brief little story, it had a remarkable number of holes in it. It’s the Andrew Raycroft of tweets, if you will. For starters, the Canucks were never offered a package of Kadri, Bozak and a pick at the draft. The rumour at the time was that Luke Schenn was the player offered by Brian Burke and Gillis, understandably, balked.

In fact, the Leafs never offered Kadri, Bozak, and a pick; instead, that was what Gillis reportedly asked for in a trade for Luongo from the Leafs. So, at no point could the Canucks have had Kadri, Bozak, and a pick for Luongo, because Burke and Nonis said no to that offer. What actually happened is the complete opposite of what Damien Cox said.

What’s worse is that Cox knew it wasn’t true. Actually, what’s even worse is that people believed him.

Here’s a tweet from February 19th from Cox, as dug up by my good buddy Harrison Mooney:

In the space of two weeks, did he forget that it was the Leafs who said no to trading Kadri? Or did he just disregard the truth and tweet something that he knew would get a response and gave him the chance to take a potshot at Mike Gillis?

Yes, Gillis would look greedy if he had said no to a trade for Kadri, Bozak, and a pick. Heck, Burke would have looked foolish had he offered that package given how Kadri has played of late. But, since that never happened, they both come out of it looking pretty okay.

This is nothing new. Cox has been tweeting and writing things that are poorly-researched, contradictions of his previous opinions, and blatantly false for years. There was his baseless speculation regarding Jose Bautista and steroids (delightfully skewered by Dustin Parkes at Drunk Jays Fans). Or how about when he reported the passing of Pat Burns back when the legendary coach was, y’know, still alive. He then refused to apologize for his role in the false reporting of Burns’ death, shifting the blame to Cliff Fletcher.

Those are just two of the big, noteworthy examples, both of which should have completely sunk his credibility right then and there. There are numerous smaller examples from over the years, including this gem during the lockout that Jake Goldsbie took apart where he manages to contradict himself within the space of one column.

My personal favourite comes from 2008, when Down Goes Brown pointed out that it took just 24 hours for Cox to completely change his opinion over the Bryan McCabe trade:

Damien Cox, Sept. 2, 2008:
‘Can’t say this is a bad trade for the Leafs…’

Damien Cox, Sept. 3, 2008:
‘McCabe deal a bad one for Leafs.’

So, at what point do people stop paying attention? At what point does he lose all credibility and people stop believing what he says? Does even Cox believe the things that he says? Apparently not with any sort of conviction, as he changes his opinions (and sometimes the facts) as soon as they stop getting attention.

Cox writes for the Toronto Star, Canada’s highest-circulation newspaper. He used to have a job at TSN, appearing on The Reporters and That’s Hockey, and now works for Sportsnet as an analyst, so his complete lack of credibility doesn’t seem to be hurting his career at all.

Ultimately, he gets paid to troll, to drum up web traffic by posting incendiary opinions so that people will click on them. Some might say that I’m playing into his hands by writing this post about him (you’ll note, however, that there isn’t a single link to one of his columns in this post), but the problem is that there are already so many people that believe him when he writes and tweets utter baloney. The tweet about a Kadri/Luongo trade sparked a flurry of activity on Twitter and lengthy threads on message boards and forums. Sure, some of those tweets and posts were questioning the validity of what Cox was saying, but far more were taking it at face value and allowing it to shape or reinforce their opinions.

What will it take for people to stop taking what he says at face value? He’s already falsely reported someone’s death and falsely accused someone of taking steroids under the guise of “just asking the question.”

The problem with being a troll is that a troll loses his power as soon as people stop paying attention to him. A surefire way to get people to stop paying attention is to consistently prove that the things you say have no value. At some point, Cox’s flip-flopping opinions, loose grip on facts, and lack of research is going to come back to bite him.

It’s counter-productive to consistently tweet and write things that are completely false. As more people come to understand that Cox has no credibility, fewer and fewer will even bother getting outraged by his trolling as it has no substance.

Comments (39)

  1. Damien worked with glue a little too much as a kid…

  2. An old journalistic saying is that credibility takes a lifetime to earn and a second to lose. Unfortunately in this age if a constant assault of news “as it happens” and “as it’s reported,” some so-called reporters, bloggers, and tweeters put more stock into being first rather than being right. And with the assault of minute to minute news in tweets 140 characters or less, they count on the incorrect ones being quickly being buried under the constant deluge of other so-called reporters, bloggers, and tweeters.

  3. Cox lost his credibility a long time ago. In fact, there seems to be very few worthwhile ‘journalists’ writing for the MSM these days – especially on hockey. With the exception of Bob Elliot and John Lott (and maybe Richard Griffin), I can’t think of anyone else worth reading. It’s an afront to our intelligence that The Star etc. think the best we can handle are the like Cox and his peers.

    The Score has done an amazing job compiling top notch bloggers. It’s sites like this that fullfill the role that Old Media once did. Keep up the good work here and don’t pay trolls like Cox more than a second of thought.

    • Dave Stubbs and most (but certainly not all) of the Montreal Gazette hockey writers are worth reading.

    • Elliot Fridge Friedman

      • also worth reading, in case I wasn’t clear

      • He’s fantastic.

        Chris Johnston (was w/ Canadian press, now Sportsnet) is also good. He’s the guy that broke the O’Reilly waiver controversy story.

        • I liked Johnson but last night he used a soundbyte to base his article off of that was elicited by Steve Simmons and his typical badgering of the same question to Randy Carlyle. C.J. was in the room, know it was out of context, yet he fully stooped to the level of Steve Simmons

  4. hahaha, great article. Cox is a fool, I already don’t care what comes out of him, its a waste of time. His pathetic attempts to get attention remind me of Donald Trump.

  5. Sorry, but you think Vancouver is a bigger hockey market than MONTREAL? No chance Montreal is not in the top 2 markets in Canada. Not a Habs fan, just pointing it out.

  6. There used to be a fantastic blog called “Cox Bloc” that was dedicated to pointing out the consistently inconsistent sports writers in the GTA. The blog is no more, but the writers of it are still doing that work on twitter.

    Perhaps they should dust off the mantle and start it back up…?

  7. One can be sure that Cox’s survival (if not outright prosperity) is governed by the old marketing adage: “Call me good. Call me bad. Just call me.”

    It’s what fuels the era of the shock-jock – Inflammatory provocation; regardless the absence of any substantive facts. Journalistic integrity be damned, Cox’s schtick sells papers.

    …But, it’s not like we haven’t all known this, for some time now.

  8. Damian Cox is a moron, Whenever he shows up on TV I change the channel. same with that bum Steve Simmons

  9. He needs to work at Yahoo he would fit in perfectly there all they do is troll. Unfortunately a catchy headline no matter how false the material is will usually generate a lot clicks which lets these “experts” and “journalists” keep their jobs.

  10. i’ve stopped reading Cox and Simmons years ago, too condescending and too much bullshit. the blog’s here on the score are excellent.

    • )=======D O… thats you suckin the weewees of this blog son

    • i agree with you, Cox and Simmons are opinionated idiots, and their respective employers ( Star and Sun) should dump these guys. They are an insult to intelligent hockey fans!

  11. hes the peter king of hockey journalists

  12. Are you sure Cox contradicted himself with the tweets? In the first tweet he talks about a package that includes Kadri that Vancouver allegedly turned down. In the 2nd tweet he only mentions that he can see why Vancouver wants Kadri.

    If I’m following this correctly, couldn’t the notion be that Vancouver wants Kadri, but they also want players besides Bozak and a pick? And in waiting to sweeten the pot, they lost the key player too?

    Hey, I’m all for healthy debate and criticism, but this whole thing feels ill-spirited and petty, is that the reputation YOU want for yourself? And how much do you think this helps YOUR credibility?

    • Cox’s first tweet (from March 6): “Canucks could’ve had Kadri, Bozak and a pick for Luongo. Got greedy.”

      Cox’s second tweet (from Feb 19): “Can see why VAN hoped to get Kadri for Luongo. Can see why Leafs said no bloody chance.”

      If the Leafs said no chance, then the Canucks couldn’t have had Kadri. This is the contradiction.

    • You gotta read those bottom to top, Killa. On Feb 19, Cox was saying that Toronto said “no bloody way” to sending Kadri to Vancouver. So how on March 6 is he suddenly saying that VANCOUVER said no, not only to Kadri, but to Bozak and a top-ten pick?

      That’s like saying that I refused to loan you a fiver, and then two weeks later saying that I offered you a twenty and you said no.

    • It’s pretty clear that those tweets contradict each other.

      In one tweet, Cox says that the Canucks could have had Kadri. In the other tweet, Cox says that the Leafs weren’t going to give the Canucks Kadri.

  13. Damien Cox has long been whats wrong with Toronto sports media. He sees the NHL through blue tinted shades and his “reporting” is more like a constant biased stream of maplecrap. The score is where it’s at for NHL coverage. Honest and comical without bias or BS. Thank you for singling this idiot out, I have been years wondering if anyone else was getting the feeling they are reading nothing more than opinions or hopes and dreams, masked as facts. I have actually Emailed Damien to call him on his crap in the past, I encourage others to do the same!

    • dont do that, that just encourages him, now he knows people are reading.. nothin makes me happier when i wake up in the morning, check my xbox and see all the hate mail i got from the previous days trolling.. if you want him to stop.. dont email his dumb ass

  14. Also. @killawatt (or is that you Damien?)

    Just keep fighting the good fight, protect an idiot that has long been wasting readers time with BS. If you want a fans opinion, talk to your buddy’s about the game or team. Good talk

  15. But, but, but Daniel – MSM aren’t “12-year-olds blogging in their mother’s basements.” So they must be right!?

    But seriously, your posts are quality and I love your analysis. Keep it up and don’t be bothered by Cox (not that you are).

  16. The Skip Bayless of hockey coverage

  17. He also reported as fact that Ice Edge Holdings were going to buy Manchester United (in the midst of their Coyotes bid) based on a report issued on April 1st.

    Wadda Maroon

  18. People worth reading, watching or listening to :

    Bourne, McKenzie, Dreger, Friedman, McGuire, Stubbs, Hickey, Brunet, Ferraro, Lebrun are at the top of my list

  19. Honestly, love following Damien on Twitter, because he actually comes across as believing the drivel that comes out of his own mouth. I am amused by it somewhat like one might be by tabloids. Except the tabloids know they are full of shit, and I still am not convinced that Damien Cox knows the same.

    Everyone laughs at us Canucks fans as being fully covered by our tinfoil hats, but some of the stuff that has graced that man’s columns and twitter posts by far outweigh even some of the most outlandish things you’ve heard from Canuck-istan. He is an absolute howl because I want to truly believe that he actually believes what he says. And if that is just a “schtick” then good on him – it’s one of WWE quality, except believable.

    That being said, Lambert is a much more overt troll, so if you want to make sure you get worked up on a consistent basis, just put a bit too much stock into what Ryan has to say. Cox is a bit more subtle, which makes it more realistic. Both bring plenty of entertainment to the table.

  20. another guy out here in canuck town who is borderline retarded is ed ( trade both sedins to philly for michael handzus ) willes.. good thing the canucks didnt do that.. would be almost as dumb as Justin Bourne predicting Tyler Seguin would give Stevie Stamkos a run for the Richard, but good thing JB didnt do that

  21. Lets not forget the recent “Gretzky for president” rumour. He cooked that one up live in the Fan 590 studio, then sat back and watched MSM serve it to an unsuspecting public. Someone eventually thought to fact check the story with the Great One himself, who simply replied “Um, nope”.

  22. Cox – still scouting for the Leafs and the ultimate media fanboy.

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