Mike Harrington

Like many professional sports teams across the country, the Buffalo Sabres regularly provide children with media access and chances to participate in behind-the-scenes media opportunities. It gives the kids a chance to get a taste of what it’s like to work in sports media, whether it’s as a beat writer, a broadcaster, or a PA announcer. It’s widely seen as a pretty harmless practice – sports are not that serious, after all – but longtime Sabres beat writer Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News does not seem to agree.

This weekend, the Sabres invited a kid to take over as the team’s PA announcer for a few minutes. Harrington was not exactly thrilled by this decision.

“The Kids Takeover PA announcer has had a few too many Dippin Dots today. Yo kiddo, slo0000000ow down,” Harrington said in a since-deleted tweet.

Mike Harrington

The tweet itself seems relatively innocuous without context. But when he was hit with some pushback and criticism, Harrington doubled down in the replies, eventually leading other Sabres reporters to bring up another event that happened back in 2019.

“Today would be a good day for the video to be posted of Harrington chasing a little girl away from a Sabres media scrum a few years ago. She was Sabres junior reporter for a day, guessing 7-10 years old. I know the video exists. I’ve seen it. And it’s incredible,” longtime Buffalo sportswriter (and former News colleague of Harrington) Tim Graham of The Athletic said in a tweet on Sunday.

The video did indeed exist, and it was finally made public on Monday thanks to Mike Straw of Insider Gaming.

In the video from 2019, a child reporter is seen standing well outside a media scrum, clearly intimidated to enter and ask questions. The young girl is then approached by what appears to be a member of the Buffalo Sabres media relations team and told to go “stand in there and put your microphone up.” As the girl approaches the scrum, Harrington turns around and coldly shoos her away, telling her “no” several times while shaking his head.

If that video doesn’t work thanks to Twitter’s current video issues, here it is:

The girl’s father, Chris Sykes, identified his eight-year-old daughter, Lucy in the video and provided a little more context. Following the incident, Sykes said that a staffer called Harrington out for his actions, but Harrington “doubled down” telling the staffer that he had to hold Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen accountable, asking him about his +/-.

“That’s actually my daughter, Lucy. I can provide the context. The night before the Sabres had blown a 3 or 4 goal lead. I was bummed because I knew it was going to change the temperature of the room the next morning when we were there. After the video cuts, the staffer called Harrington out for it. He doubled down said he needed to hold them responsible. He went on to ask Risto why he had the worst +/- in the league and how that is the reason the team is losing and whether that was acceptable,” Sykes said. “Lucy was 8 at the time, and was nervous and tentative. This definitely didn’t help. But everyone else was so great that it turned out being a great experience for her. It’s just a shame he couldn’t set a good example for her… or at least be a decent human being.”

This is certainly not the first time Harrington has caused controversy. He once nominated a player facing DUI charges for drunk driving his truck into a Tim Hortons for what is widely considered to be a “role model” award – and defended the vote by saying “your opinion is worthless” unless you cover the team full-time and tried to get ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski kicked out of the Pro Hockey Writers Association for questioning him. He also took a controversial shot at Dan LeBetard, likening his last name to a slur for disabled people.

Harrington has yet to address the controversial video. He briefly locked his Twitter account after the video surfaced, but has since made his account public again and is continuing as if nothing happened.

UPDATE: Harrington responded on Monday evening with a lengthy apology post on Twitter trying to explain his actions:

[Mike Straw]