TORONTO, ON – OCTOBER 08: The Texas Rangers and the Toronto Blue Jays stand for the national anthem prior to game one of the American League Division Series at Rogers Centre on October 8, 2015 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

The Toronto Blue Jays have exploded onto the scene in the United States since ending their long playoff drought in 2015, but beyond the storylines of Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson, Marcus Stroman and the rest of their superstar lineup is their ownership with one of Canada’s largest sports broadcasters. A relationship that often leads to frustrations amongst the fanbase and the Canadian media alike as Rogers Communications’ ownership of the Blue Jays and their exclusive rights to coverage of the team make for a murky situation when it comes to criticizing the team on their networks.

Often a source of frustration from fans whenever the Blue Jays don’t spend money in the offseason despite being owned by Canada’s telecommunications giants, the Jays coverage on Rogers’ Sportsnet channels can often feel more than slanted in the favor of Canada’s Team due to the fact that most of those who cover the team are employed by the team’s owners. Even when the team is mired in a controversy, such as Chris Colabello’s 80 game suspension for a failed PED test last week.

In the wake of the news of Colabello’s positive test, a suspension that Colabello has expressed disbelief in, Sportsnet’s Blue Jays reporter Barry Davis quickly decided to wave the flag for the journeyman first baseman. Chiming in with his personal relationship with Colabello (in a tweet that was deleted), Davis vehemently expressed his disbelief that the Jays first baseman could possibly cheat by taking a banned substance.

On the other side of the coin, Toronto Star columnist Bruce Arthur tweeted there is an unlikely chance that Colabello unknowingly took the substance by citing a breakdown of the PED that Colabello was suspended for using.

To the credit of Rogers, the tweet that spurred Arthur was from Sportsnet’s Arash Madani, but stories like this show where having the large bulk of media employed by the owners of the team can be a touchy subject. When Alex Anthopoulos left the Blue Jays, some fans felt the network carried the water for the team and ownership making an unpopular decision in what was a perceived pushing out of the door of the beloved general manager.

Sports teams are increasingly bringing in their own outlets to have some level of control of the coverage of their day to day operations, but Rogers are in an interesting situation as they control the majority of the national coverage of their team. Blue Jays fans have little option other than independent blogs or the newspaper if they want non-owned coverage of their team as Rogers and Sportsnet have an interest in making sure that there is positive coverage of their investment each season.

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