Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby getting arrested during the NHL offseason would immediately bring the hockey universe to a standstill. It’d be the biggest story in the history of Canada. Or something like that.
During the overnight hours Quebecor Media and its affiliates, including some of the country’s major tabloid papers, had the scoop of the offseason – Crosby was arrested by Ottawa police after an incident with his rented Porsche.
The only minor problem is that Crosby was not arrested.
In fact, he wasn’t even in Ottawa.
Falsely reporting the arrest of your country’s most notable athlete isn’t necessarily a great look for a company that proclaims itself to be “Canada’s Top Newspaper Chain.”
Reports on sites like The Ottawa Sun, Winnipeg Sun, and national outlet Canoe.ca ran a short news briefing from Quebecor Media detailing Crosby’s arrest. Although all of the stories have been pulled, they live on in screenshot and cache form so Quebecor Media’s embarrassing incompetence and inaccuracy can be saved for posterity.
After these tabloid reports were published, real reporters took to Twitter to discount the veracity of the Crosby arrest.
The Ottawa police chief even took to Twitter to refute the reports. Nothing screams “2014” like a police chief taking to Twitter to deny a false report from a Canadian tabloid about Sidney Crosby’s arrest.
Crosby was not in Ottawa last night driving a rented Porsche and having his mugshot taken. Instead, the Penguins captain is training in Vail, Colorado.
As Greg Wyshynski hypothesizes, could someone working for Quebecor Media mistook “out in Vail” for “Ottawa jail”? While that theory would be the highest of high comedy, the Ottawa Sun reported that Crosby was getting fingerprints and a mugshot. Where would they get those details? Where did the mysteriously appearing Porsche come from? And then there’s this question… HOW DID YOU FALSELY REPORT THE ARREST OF YOUR NATION’S MOST PROMINENT ATHLETE?
The only possible explanation for a reporting blunder on this scale is Rob Ford taking control of Canada’s media.
UPDATE: It took several hours, but Quebecor Media posted this retraction on the Ottawa Sun website:
Earlier today, QMI Agency reported that Pittsburgh Penguins centre Sidney Crosby was arrested by Ottawa Police late Tuesday on driving-related charges.
There was no basis for the story and QMI unreservedly retracts the story in its entirety.
QMI regrets the error.
Sweeping this under the rug in a “we regret the error” post might be the understatement of the century.