Dallas Stars Release Statement on Jamie Benn & Sedins 'Controversy': Why This Whole Mess Is Overblown

The Stars have released a statement regarding Benn's comments on the radio on Monday -- but why doesn't everyone else apologize as well?

Note from the Editor:

When preparing this article, we based it on two things. 1) We heard the comments from Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin in the context of the full interview as it aired live, and when originally listening we did not see the joke being made as homophobic in nature. 2) We took the joke made by Benn an off-the-cuff remark no different than how many in the media and elsewhere have called the Sedins "creepy" or "weird."

It's been made clear to us since publication that many found the joke made by the two players as homophobic in nature, something we apologize for missing during our original listen. Some have said that our article completely dismisses the concerns regarding any perceived homophobia or anti-gay remarks that were made. This is far from the case. We do not condone nor will we defend any homophobic or anti-gay remarks or messages.

We felt that, in the full context of the conversation, it was clear that the discussion was on how "weird" the Sedins were when you consider all that was being said, as we are familiar with similar jokes that have been made about Benn and his brother, Jordie. We have posted the full audio and transcript of the interview below in hopes that it will clarify our take on what was said.

However that does not change the perception of what some felt was meant by the remarks and that does not mean their concerns should not be addressed. This article isn't meant to be a defense of any homophobia or homophobic remarks, nor was it meant to deflect from that issue. We understand that some in the LGBTQ community were troubled and hurt by what was said, and we did not intend to discredit that pain.


On Monday, Dallas Stars forwards Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin appeared on BaD Radio on 1310 The Ticket, in a fairly entertaining interview with a radio team that was along on the road trip with the Stars. The discussion turned to the routine of a road trip and Bob Sturm turned the attention to the Sedin twins when discussing Jordie Benn and Jamie Benn.

You can listen to the audio here, which starts around the 24:45 mark.

Here is the full transcript of this particular conversation:

Dan: Do you feel like if Tyler Seguin had not ever been traded to the Stars, you would have less tattoos?

Benn: No

Seguin, whisper: Liar!

Dan: He has not influenced you at all?

Benn: No.

Dan: He is a liar, isn't he?

Benn: My brother actually got them fist before I did. Then I kind of got hooked on them. I like tattoos. I like being different.

Bob: That forearm tattoo right there, does that say brother?

Benn: Yeah.

Bob: Okay. See I thought I was reading it, and it's in some sort of font that kind of plays tricks on your eyes a little bit.

Benn: Yeah. It'll really mess with you.

Bob: Okay. And does he have the same one?

Benn: Yeah.

Bob. Okay. Do you guys room together?

Benn: No.

Bob: Okay, because we heard that the youngsters have to room together, and then I think...

Seguin: Jordie's like... 27.

Bob: I know you don't have to, but I bet you the Sedin's room together.

Seguin: Well, yeah. That's the Sedins.

Benn: Who knows what else they do together too?

Seguin: Yeah, seriously.

Bob: And in no way am I implying that you have a Sedin-type vibe going about you, but okay.

Dan: Don't they shave the exact same?

Bob: Dude, it's creepy. In fact, it's a good example to future brothers in the NHL on how not to do things, in my opinion. That's just something I would throw out there.

Dan: Are they weird?

Benn: I don't know. I can't say.

Seguin: They look funny.

Bob: You do know.

Dan: They do look weird. You can say it. You're not the captain.

Seguin: Yeah, they look really weird. They're odd as s-t.

This short little part of the long interview was then taken out of context and spread around, mostly in Vancouver, where it was surmised a great injustice had been placed upon the Sedins and it was an outrage they could say such a thing.

On Wednesday, Dallas Stars President Jim Lites released this statement:

Jamie Benn has reached out to Henrik and Daniel Sedin to apologize for the radio interview that he was a part of on Monday. The Dallas Stars have the utmost respect for the contributions that the two have made to both the game and to their community over the course of their great careers. We will not be commenting on the situation further.

Writing about this at all is silly. But since people appear to have worked themselves up into a frenzy, here's some thoughts from a Stars fan perspective.

The first part of the problem is that people from outside DFW probably don't understand The Ticket, a sports station that takes irreverence to the highest order. If you've seen the clips of the reporter in 1920s getup throwing questions at big-name athletes, you know their work. It's shtick, but it's entertaining shtick that reminds us sports is just a bunch of overgrown kids playing children's games for a living.

They don't care about those unwritten rules of Serious Sports Journalism, and that's okay. No one around DFW expects that from them. They listen to be entertained by listening to Homer Call of the Week, Fake Jerry Jones, calling up bars in losing cities to ask the score of the game, and to laugh, because we should be able to laugh at these silly games and the humans who play them.

It's where the Stars get a lot of the irreverence that goes over so well for the game presentation. Ground covered earlier in this 25-minute interview in question included Seguin's armpit tattoo, the Stars best and worst basketball players and Jamie Benn's time in the chess club.

And The Ticket routinely does much, much worse segments when it comes to line-walking what is appropriate. There are things you can legitimately be outraged about when it comes to their bits (though I doubt it will get you far given the huge ratings they put up). This interview is probably about 1,576th on the list. If you're wondering why the hosts are so befuddled at the reaction, it's that.

Look, there is exactly one line in the whole minute of audio that can be taken as inappropriate, and that depends on your assumption of intent of Benn's joke. Part of the context is that the Benn brothers get a little ragged on for being codependent themselves. Jamie and Jordie have matching "brother" tattoos on their forearms, and if that's not going to get you razzed, nothing will.

Still, I think it's notable that Benn is the person the Stars are saying reached out to the Sedin's. He's the one who uttered the questionable thing after all.

But everyone seems to have honed in on the "weird" and "creepy" part as being the most offensive. That would be fine if those words weren't already well associated with the Sedin twins in both local Vancouver and national hockey media.

Let's start with national media piece written by a Vancouver writer. In a piece in defense of liking the Sedins, which shouldn't have to be defended in the first place as they're terrific hockey players, Harrison Mooney writes this:

Second, they're exceedingly weird. If the fact that they're creepy, identical twins didn't do it for you, then the bright orange, 1970s beards don't help. When you see a bearded ginger, you don't think: NHL superstar. You ask yourself why a man with red hair would grow more of it than he absolutely had to.

And from Mooney later that same year, this time through the Pass it to Bulis blog hosted by the Vancouver Sun:

Daniel and Henrik are perfect Halloween costumes. The Sedins are inherently creepy, so you’ve got the scare factor going for you.

Then to complete the hat trick, Mooney uses the word creepy to describe how in sync the Sedins are in that infamous (and amusing) GIF of them drinking water bottles in identical fashion.

He's also openly implied that they look like aliens, and that everyone obviously knows this.

Incredibly, Henrik was even paying close enough attention to learn a little something about himself:

"I look like an alien!" exclaims Henrik when he’s done the head shape and just started drawing the ears.

Yes. You do. And you’re the last one to notice.

But it's not just local media that calls the Sedins creepy and odd-looking.

Let's start with Grantland, which had this at the top of an article on the NHL playoffs:

The Canucks were favored in the finals because of stars such as Ryan Kesler (who broke out for Team USA in the 2010 Olympics), Alex Burrows (we’ll get to him), and the creepy Sedin twins (created in a lab by some evil Swedish scientist who loved hockey).

Puck Buddies, an awesome blog that tags itself "For boys who like boys who like hockey," compared the Sedins to the twins from The Shining in a game recap.

Our old friends from the Boston media called them creepy at the start of this season in a story that had almost nothing to do with the Canucks.

Fear the Fin had this to say about the water bottle GIF:

They're like aliens or robots or something. Totally weird. Maybe they're not the weirdest twins ever but they are definitely on my shortlist.

And finally (though there are many, many more out there), the great Russian Machine Never Breaks also went with a Shining comparison.

Seriously, there’s just something not quite right about Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin. They share everything: the same beady eyes, same scraggly beards, and unfortunately for us practically the same performance on the ice – 3 or 4 goals (depending on which Sedin you’re talking about) and 8 assists so far.

All of those were apparently okay, or at least not worthy of calling for apologies or feeling like there was somehow a great wrong wrought upon the Sedins. Particularly when it comes to the first three links from the Vancouver media, it's definitely okay for the home media to call players weird and creepy, but it's a huge insult when coming from the outside.

I get it to some extent. Vancouver fans feel that their elder statesmen have been "attacked" by other players, that they "aren't getting the respect they deserve." Everyone feels irrationally protective about the men on their favorite sports teams.

But let's be frank here - the Sedins do take the identical twin bit to a far more intense level than, say, the identical Lundqvist twins ever dreamed of. It comes off as, yes, weird and creepy to some, and the entire hockey world has talked about that well before Benn and Seguin ever did.

And the Sedins aren't the only guys to have been singled out for their appearance and behavior.

We (by which I mean media, fans and players) pick on Phil Kessel for his stature, on Brent Burns for his grooming, on Alex Ovechkin for his rowdiness. We talk about who isn't great in a locker room, who is selfish, who parties too much. We talk about players as if what they do in a game defines their personalities outside of it all the time. And we all recognize, or at least we should, that those statements are in no way a reflection on their hockey ability or their contributions to the community.

There are things players say that are worthy of public derision, like when Mike Modano stuck his foot in his mouth back in during the 04-05 lockout and said $500 a week wasn't enough to feed his dogs or when Mark Recchi was busy showing off his medical license. This isn't one of those times.