Less than two months ago, longtime Denver Post hockey writer Adrian Dater was suspended for using profane language on Twitter; he called one player a "pussy" and told a correspondent to "fuck off."
Now, Dater reveals that he's been fired for similar offenses, including a strange come-on to a Detroit Red Wings fan -- and adds that he's suffering from substance-abuse problems. Continue for details and photos, including screen captures of numerous exchanges.
As we noted in an October 8 report, Dater has long been one of the Post's best sports reporters, in large part because of his passion. Unlike some scribes, who clearly feign interest in the teams they follow, Dater truly cares about the Colorado Avalanche, his main beat. That didn't stop him from ripping the squad when it's deserved: He's not that kind of homer. But he writes as if he has a personal stake in the outcome, and this makes him relatable to fans even as it fuels his journalism -- and his emotions, which can sometimes get the best of him.
Case in point: Back in 2007, Dater penned an anti-ESPN rant about what he saw as false claims of having broken stories -- one that was quickly pulled down from the Post's blog by his superiors for reasons that are clear from the following excerpt:
You can take your ESPN and all the alleged superiority that comes from being on it every day and you can shove it in that little space where there is very little sunlight, ever.
Wanna get mad at me for saying that, my bosses out there and anybody else in this business we call newspapering? Fine, but before I get hauled onto the carpet, let me stick up for you and your business and call out the people that have helped ruin this business for you.
Among those Dater called out by name: Ed Werder, Rachel Nichols, Chris Mortensen, Marc Stein and "ESPN producer schmucks," who he claimed "didn't break JACK SQUAT."
Another Dater controversy followed a tweet on the evening of October 4. It's been deleted, but here's a screen capture retrieved by Yahoo! Sports:
Accompanying the post was the following YouTube video, which features NHL prospect Brayden McNabb elbowing then Av-hopeful Joey Hishon in the head, knocking the latter out for the better part of two years.
The responses from Twitter users were swift, merciless and undiminished by Dater's initial attempts to defend himself. And then (update), there came his e-mail to Jesse Spector of the Sporting News. Spector's Twitter criticism inspired Dater to call him a "dork" in a tweet, after which he sent a more explicit private e-mail that Spector retweeted -- and which Deadspin featured:
— Jesse Spector (@jessespector) October 5, 2014
Despite Dater's subsequent apology tweet from his now-deleted Post account...
My hot temper got the best of me last night. I apologize for juvenile word choice
— Adrian Dater (@adater) October 5, 2014
...the paper announced that Dater would be suspended for two weeks without pay for "inappropriate language used on Twitter" over the course of the 4th and the 5th -- meaning his replies to critics were also factored in.
A statement from Post editor Greg Moore read: "Journalists need to recognize that they need to be professional on all platforms. Social media is no different. The language Adrian used is unacceptable, and he knows it."
Presumably, the suspension reinforced this knowledge -- but that didn't stop Dater from wading into the same dangerous social-media waters again.
Continue for more about the firing of Denver Post hockey writer Adrian Dater, including more images.
The latest social-media faux pas involved Twitter correspondence with Maria Camacho, identified by Yahoo! Sports as a Detroit Red Wings fan living in Calgary. Here's one of their exchanges....
...and a second....
...plus one that took a weirdly personal turn:
This situation apparently was one too many for the Post. But rather than protesting management's decision to sack him, Dater placed an essay on Facebook in which he takes full responsibility for his actions -- and reveals that he has a substance-abuse issue.
The item reads:
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My long association with the Post came to an end today. That's a really bad thing to have to write, but it's reality.
I said a bunch of stupid things on social media once too often. It was unprofessional and I paid the price.
Social media and I were always going to be a dangerous mix. I'm opinionated and have the occasional real hot temper.
But my problems were deeper than that.
I've had some pretty bad substance abuse problems. Every single time I got myself in trouble with my mouth, substances helped play a role, probably a big one. I tried to deny it was a big problem but it obviously was and is.
A lifestyle of a lot of late nights away from home in lonely hotel rooms and a stressful lifestyle at times kind of caught up with me. I used too many wrong things as coping mechanisms. I also have dealt with manic depression for years and when the real dark moods come over me I tend to do things to hurt myself more. I don't want these to be used as excuses or to win sympathy. But I'm just adding explanations of what I've had problems with.
I do believe some things said about me recently in accusatory manners is totally false, with people misrepresenting things. Some things that have been written about one incident are completely wrong.
But the bottom line is I caused my own problems and have to own them.
I've been seeking more in-depth help for some of my problems and if I could ask for one thing, it's that you hope for the best that I can.
I know I'm a good person down deep, but greatly flawed.
It was my pleasure writing on the Avalanche for 20 years for a great paper. Nobody can take those memories away.
I love my family and the No. 1 thing I need to do is try and make them proud of me again.
I'm so sorry I let people down. I hope to some day write a happier comeback story for you to read.
We second that emotion. Dater is a talented journalist and a pleasure to read -- but he's clearly got some demons that need to stay in the penalty box permanently.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.