PHILADELPHIA — Pat Maroon can joke around, talk trash to his opponents and take his fair share. Sometimes, his weight is the subject of those back-and-forth verbal barbs.
But when Bruins TV play-by-play man Jack Edwards made fun of Maroon’s weight on the air during NESN’s broadcast of the Lightning’s game Tuesday in Boston, Maroon said he felt it was out of bounds.
“I think it’s just uncalled for,” he said following Thursday’s morning skate in Philadelphia. “I wasn’t even on the ice, and I don’t understand why he said it or why it just came out of his mouth. Listen, I’m a bigger guy. I know that. There’s times we joke around in the locker room, a lot of guys chirp me on the ice.
“But when someone’s broadcasting, announcing the game and doing something like that in front of millions of fans and millions of listeners and just pretty much put me down to the lowest, it’s just never fun to hear that. It’s kind of embarrassing for me, if you look back on it.”
Midway through the first period, Edwards, a longtime Bruins announcer and former ESPN “SportsCenter” anchor, went on a 40-second aside poking fun at Maroon’s listed weight of 238 pounds.
Maroon can take criticism. As a professional athlete in his 12th NHL season, he knows his fair game for a broadcaster. But he said he didn’t understand why Edwards would ridicule his weight.
“There’s no reason for it, to be honest with you,” Maroon said.. “You just don’t talk bad about someone like that for a minute straight for no reason. … I just don’t understand why someone would just go on for a minute. I mean, the play went down and back three times, and he talked about it for a minute.”
Maroon responded Wednesday on social media, announcing via his personal Twitter and Instagram accounts that he was donating $2,000 to non-profit organization Tampa Bay Thrives in Edwards’ name “in support of those struggling with mental health, bullying and body image.” He encouraged fans to do the same.
Maroon’s posts went viral and sparked a national conversation about bullying and body-shaming. As of Thursday morning, the Lightning Foundation had collected $50,000 in donations for Tampa Bay Thrives, which plans to use the funds to expand youth programs aimed at helping area kids break the stigma about asking for help with their mental health.
“Listen, we’re not here to make blood of anything,” Maroon said Thursday. “We’re here to turn something negative into a positive, and I think our team did a good job of finding the right solution and the right thing to do instead of reacting with emotion. But yeah, obviously it’s not fun to hear that. It is what it is. It’s over. It’s in the past, and hopefully we made some impact in the Tampa community and around the world.
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“It’s obviously been kind of a weird 24 hours, but a positive 24 hours,” Maroon said. “I think when you take a negative and turn into a positive, everyone’s happy.”
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