The Penguins have a new Team Physician, and Eliminate “Handler” for Sidney Crosby, and this upsets you how?

So another post because I have to work early and thus I can’t do normal Friday night things like go drink with friends or see The Dark Knight Rises.

The Penguins announced yesterday that they had fired their old team physician and then announced today the appointment of new team doctor, Christopher Harner. They also ended terms of employment with Frank Bunomo, a PR guy who has primarily been concerned with “handling” Sidney Crosby. What a “handler” does I’ll likely never understand and really don’t care to know, but what really shocks me is that a lot of people seem to be profoundly surprised by this and have even gone so far as to suggest that “Sidney Crosby has made these things happen.”

on a complete side note, some weird stuff going on with the Pens. They fired their entire medical staff, and also Frank Buonomo.

-Derek from the Pensblog.

Why should that surprise anyone? The former team medical staff did a horrendous job of treating Crosby for his concussions, so much so that Sid had to travel the country in search of people who would actually help him, despite the fact that UPMC has one of the best head trauma units in literally the entire world. I mean I’ve always wondered, was he not allowed to see specialists there? My guess is no he wasn’t allowed. Further, how much more foolishly could the medical staff have acted during Crosby’s first return? I mean yes, it was Sid himself who was running headfirst into every hit he could take to “prove himself” but why didn’t a doctor step in and say, “you know what, this is wrong, I’m not going to let you do this.” The former chief doctor could be an amazing human and an even better doctor, but he screwed up bad. He let publicity or popularity get in the way of better judgment in dealing with Sidney Crosby (does this sound like a certain other news story from Central PA?). I mean even when a truck driver is determined to not be at fault for an accident he was involved in, he can still be subject to losing his job and/or his CDL. I see no reason why a doctor who probably hauls in 7-figures every year should be treated differently.

I think the only thing worse than the medical staff’s handling of Crosby’s first return was the PR nightmare of #CrosbyWatch after his second concussion. I mean the franchise basically lost track of its superstar. I should think that that would be the entire purpose for employing a “handler.” Further, if this guy was influencing Crosby’s decisions as to whether or not he should address the media, or if he was involved in relaying the information between Crosby and the Pens, then all I can say about that is:

Never in the field of human endeavour has so much been done, so badly, by so many.

– Jeremy Clarkson

The Penguins are an organization that is obsessed with creating the proper public image. They have to be, given that they lead all arena sports teams (NHL, NBA) in television viewership, they are always on NBC’s game of the week, and most importantly the team owners are genuinely great humans and philanthropists who deserve every bit of acclaim they’ve been given. In light of the way that the medical staff and this PR guy put greasy finger prints all over the franchise in the last two years, there should be no controversy at all as to why they lost their jobs, there is nothing “weird” about that at all.

Even if Sid did “command” that they be fired, who can blame him? Again, the team medical staff abjectly failed in its abilities to provide medical care to the guy, I mean last time I checked it wasn’t illegal to sue a doctor for malpractice, and malpractice doesn’t necessarily mean that you “botch” an operation, it can be because you proved incompetent in your area of expertise thus forcing undue hardship on your patient… For all we know, the former team doctors could have cost Sid his career had he not sought other help, there is no point sticking up for them. As for this “handler” all I care to figure out about him is that his job is to “handle” PR situations, especially (apparently) between Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. If he did at all he did so terribly. To stick with the malpractice example, if you hired a lawyer and paid him plenty of money because he was uniquely qualified to work on your case, but he didn’t fill out your court filings and didn’t show up on the day of the trial, you probably wouldn’t be too satisfied either.


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