The Toronto Maple Leafs’ Mitch Marner has a lot to get off his chest. The 24-year-old has been dealing with the haters all of his career. Still, the animosity ramped up to despicable levels since Toronto was eliminated from the first round of the playoffs. Marner has repeatedly said he doesn’t look at or care about social media. However, it was the perfect platform to send a message with an assist from fellow Torontonian – Drake.
After what’s been said about him, no one could fault Marner if his rebuttal to the social media trolls was less than family-friendly. However, his employer, sponsors and charities are not likely to approve. So, Marner got creative by producing a video complete with specific lines from Drake’s newly released song, Champagne Poetry.
Marner’s Public Relations are Hard at Work
We will translate some of the cryptic messages later. The first mystery is figuring out which public relations department made the video, as it’s not your standard shaky selfie gym post. It is a well-edited video with its own music track. It could’ve been the Maple Leafs or one of his many sponsors (Red Bull is prominent). Perhaps it’s another artistic twist by Drake to promote his album. What is clear is the perception of Marner has soured, and a propaganda department somewhere is racking up the bills to get the local boy back to hero status.
Kyle Dubas is well aware of the hostility directed at his player. The general manager told the Bob McCown Podcast he believes the world is much more “vitriolic” than before the pandemic, and it is manifesting on social media. “He (Marner) ended up being the one that people went after the most. Whether that is because he is local, whether that is because his gregarious nature, energy, and youthful enthusiasm he brings every day make him an easier target… I don’t know,” said Dubas.
Marner Send Message with Drake’s Lyrics
Among the edited lyrics that accompany the video, Marner says, or I should say Drake raps, “I see all the people that claim they over me. I’m trying to just relatе what I can see through my own eyes. And nothing tells thе truth like the eyes will. Lived so much for others don’t remember how I feel.” You can read a lot into those lyrics. It would hurt to have a fanbase you grew up a part of turn on you. Not many could argue that Marner plays his guts out. He was second on the team for ice time, averaging nearly 22 and a half minutes a game.
Marner had a spectacular regular season performance in 2020-21. He recorded 67 points in 55 games. However, that was overshadowed when he did not score in the seven-game playoff series loss to the Montreal Canadiens. For the next segment, I’m reading the tea leaves, but it sounds like Marner is telling fans he is working hard to find another level. “Тhіѕ thе раrt whеrе І’m а fіnd а nеw раrt оf mе tо ехрlоrе. Тhіѕ thе раrt whеrе аll mу раrtnеrѕ knоw whаt wе іn іt fоr. Тhіѕ thе раrt whеrе wе gоnna thrоw uѕ а раrtу аftеr thе wаr.” It’s doesn’t take much guessing to figure out it’s the Stanley Cup celebration he is referring to for the party after the war.
Marner’s video ends with a shot straight at the haters who have criticized him since he signed his contract that pays $10.9 million a year. “Аnd іf thе lаѕt nеgоtіаtіоn hаd уоu fееlіng оut оf росkеt. Wеll thіѕ іѕ реrfесt tіmе thаt І еmрtу thеm ѕ**tѕ fоr ѕurе. Yоu оwе thаt ѕ**t tо thе bоу, уеаh.” I don’t think we need to translate that message; undoubtedly, he believes he is worth the money.
Dubas Believes in Marner
In spite of the vicious comments directed at Marner, his boss says he is still the same hard-working, fun-loving guy who enjoys the game. Dubas believes Marner will only get stronger. “I really think that criticism levied towards him from playing in his hometown — and the impact it may have on him and his family — will only help Mitch over time, especially as he deals with it more, learns to overcome it, and thrives through it.” Dubas added, “the people who one year are highly critical and spew hatred towards somebody are just as likely next year to be the biggest booster of that person if they have success… I am very excited to see Mitch capture that sentiment from the fan base with the way he will play this season and into the playoffs this year.”
You may also like:
There’s another important tweet on Marner’s timeline just below the video. He announced the third annual Marner All-Star Invitational. It’s part of the Marner Assist Foundation that raises funds for local children’s charities. Haters will say that is more P.R. stunts. However, Marner started the event when he was in the good graces of the fans. It seems he’s supporting the community through good and bad. It’s time for the fanbase to return the favour.
Kevin Armstrong is an award-winning journalist with more than two decades of experience. He’s been rink side for World Juniors, Memorial Cups, Calder Cups and Stanley Cups. Like many Canadian kids, his earliest memories include hockey. Kevin has spent countless hours in arenas throughout the country watching all levels of the game.