North Carolina

Bunch of NC ‘hicks’? Boston sportswriter complains after hockey wasn’t playing on TVs

Are the Canes a ‘bunch of jerks’?

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk reacts to the Canes being called a "bunch of jerks' by commentator Don Cherry of Hockey Night in Canada for their post-game celebrations after wins at PNC Arena.
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Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk reacts to the Canes being called a "bunch of jerks' by commentator Don Cherry of Hockey Night in Canada for their post-game celebrations after wins at PNC Arena.

A Boston sportswriter wasn’t happy when TVs inside a North Carolina restaurant and hotel were playing basketball instead of hockey. So he had this to say on Twitter: “Hicks.”

Now Kevin Paul Dupont, a writer and columnist at The Boston Globe, says he is sorry for his attempt at sarcasm that didn’t play well online.

“Left restaurant because TV dumped NHL for NBA,” Dupont, who was in Raleigh for the Eastern Conference finals between the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes, said in a tweet Wednesday night that has since been deleted. “Returned to hotel to find NBA playing on lobby TV. Now in process of checking out. Hicks.”

Aaron Ward, a former defenseman for the Canes, replied that “checking out of a room where you actually control the remote makes no sense to me.”

Ward later said on Twitter, “I consider (Dupont) a buddy. I was messing with him. ... I’d say everyone is literal and sensitive.”

But some people hit back at the sportswriter.

“Oh sweetheart we have three major universities, and the highest concentration of PhDs in the country and you couldn’t find anyone who could explain how to turn your hotel room tv on?” one Twitter user asked Dupont.

In a tweet that has also been deleted, Dupont responded: “Where I come from, ‘sweetheart’ is a sexist remark. Try harder, you hick.”

Dupont on Thursday said on Twitter that he deleted two posts and realized “facetiousness doesn’t always translate on this platform.”

“I wasn’t trying to insult people, although clearly I did,” Dupont told The News & Observer on Thursday morning. “And I’m sorry for that.”

Dupont won the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award in 2002 for his media accomplishments, according to the Hockey Hall of Fame website.

This isn’t the first time Boston sports media professionals have made a jab at North Carolina.

Last week, Boston sports radio host Fred Toucher hung up during an interview with Chip Alexander, a News & Observer sports reporter who covers the Canes. The host of WBZ-FM criticized the Raleigh writer’s Southern accent.

Similar comments from Bean Town go back at least a decade, when Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe in 2009 called people in the Triangle a “bunch of goobers,” The News & Observer reported at the time.

The Bruins are up 3-0 in a best-of-seven-game series against the Hurricanes in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The teams face off again Thursday at 8 p.m.

Fans of North Carolina’s team have recently embraced the phrase “bunch of jerks,” which commentator Don Cherry used to describe the Canes.

WBZ-FM radio host Fred Toucher hung up on News & Observer sports writer Chip Alexander during an interview about Hurricanes hockey. "I just can’t listen to a guy with a Southern accent talk about hockey," Toucher said on air.

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Simone Jasper is a reporter covering breaking stories for The News & Observer and real-time news in the Carolinas.


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