Adrian Dater, Denver Post Hockey Writer, Suspended After Tweeting "P*ssy"

Update below: The Colorado Avalanche season is gearing up after a resurgence under coach Patrick Roy -- but Adrian Dater, who covers the beat for the Denver Post, won't be doing so until later this month. He's been suspended for two weeks without pay for sending a tweet that included the word "pussy." Continue for photos and details about this controversy and a previous one in which the outspoken Dater was embroiled.

See also: Adrian Dater's Anti-ESPN Rant

Dater, who declined to comment for this item, 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 Avs. That doesn'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."

The latest 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 in a just-published report:

After all this invective, Dater offered up an apology tweet, which remains online:

Replies to the latter item include:

did you finally get your diaper changed

Typical ginger rage

Neat that you also poor word choiced another twenty times to anyone who called you out on your misogyny.

No need to apologize. Your persistence in making an ass of yourself has its own rewards for the rest of us.

fuck off misogynist trash pile

The situation seemed to calm down after that -- but late yesterday afternoon, the Post published an announcement that Dater was being 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 reads: "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."

This move recalls the three-week suspension of ESPN's Bill Simmons for a podcast rant against NFL commissioner Roger Goodell following the latter's ham-handed press conference about the Ray Rice matter. One portion of the transcript reads:
I just think not enough is being made out of the fact that they knew about the tape, and they knew what was on it. Goodell, if he didn't know what was on that tape, he's a liar. I'm just saying it. He is lying. I think that dude is lying, if you put him up on a lie detector test that guy would fail. And for all these people to pretend they didn't know is such fucking bullshit. It really is -- it's such fucking bullshit. And for him to go in that press conference and pretend otherwise, I was so insulted.
Simmons, of course, is well known for his frequent use of expletives, as any reader of his riotous tome The Book of Basketball knows full well. As such, his suspension was likely more about the target of his ire -- Goodell, who reps one of ESPN's most important cash cows -- as what he said.

As for Dater, he was merely using the sort of language a good many sports fans deploy, for better or worse, while employed by a mainstream media organization that still holds to its traditional role as a "family" publication. Such notions are increasingly at odds with the way sports reporting has developed during the Internet age, and Dater is paying the price for momentarily forgetting what side of the battle his employer is on.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts