Gil LeBreton Nazi Column Sparks Virtual Lynching

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Posted March 5, 2010 by Jeff Prince in Blotch

Fort Worth Star-Telegram sportswriter Gil LeBreton is getting bitch slapped for this Feb. 28 column that compares Canada’s version of the Winter Olympics to Nazi Germany’s in 1936.

Naturally, he felt compelled to issue a faux-apology in the form of a blathering follow-up column.

Lame apologies don’t make detractors feel better. They just make you look wishy-washy.

Anyway, I read the column when it first appeared. It was over the top, but kinda interesting. (Well, not too interesting, now that I think about it I didn’t even make it to the jump.)

Canadian news writers went insane. Canadians are used to being characterized as friendly but bland, wimpy but nice. But Nazis? Not so much.

Columns and news stories exploded in Canada, and the vitriol spread nationally. Deadspin is just one of many that are spanking Lebreton. The Sporting News wondered, “Did Gil LeBreton of the Star-Telegram Just Start a Border War?”

(Note: A former Star-Telegram sports editor told a Fort Worth Weekly writer over drinks that LeBreton typically files columns at the last minute, making them difficult to edit.)

A Facebook page entitled “Fire Gil LeBreton for Calling Canadians Nazis!” has about 2,000 members so far.

My two cents: Gil, if you have the balls to write a column comparing Canadians to Nazis, then have the balls to tell them to kiss your ass when they show up at your door with pitchforks.


19 Comments


  1.  
    cheryl smith

    Dear Jeff
    Kudos for your comments. Just one clarification. We Canadians leave the pitchforks for the barnyard. We harpoon our whales OK sometimes we use a bow and arrow




  2.  
    dan.mcgraw

    I think Gil should do a folllow up on this subject, specifically how the Giant Inflatable Beavers fit in with the Oh Canada/Third Reich. I’m sure he can craft up some connection.




  3.  
    Mike

    I am a Canadian and could not be happier that this guy is getting the asult he deserves. He is a complete moron comapring us to Nazi’s in that we showed a great deal of support for our teams-remember Salt Lake, L.A and Altanta Gil? Stars and Strips everywhere…Like it should be on home turff.

    Besides, he already had preconceived feelings towards us….Like a Mob of Drunken Rats… Check out his article on the U.S Mens Hockey team win over Team Canada… http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/yb/141609291




  4.  
    jeff.prince

    Talk about groveling: Check out this column published in today’s Star-Telegram. Publisher Gary Wortel not only apologizes to all Canadians, he even insists that LeBreton “sincerely regrets his comments.”

    Bullshit. LeBreton sincerely regrets the fallout that occurred after making his comments. Big difference.

    Wortel says he is “sorry the column appeared in my newspaper.” Why? LeBreton’s sports column is typical opinionated stuff designed to spark a reaction. He did his job. Canadians need to toughen up.

    Here’s the column:

    http://www.star-telegram.com/2010/03/05/2017793/star-telegram-publisher-apologizes.html




  5.  
    John

    Lebreton became more bitter during the olympics with each Canadian success. This came to fruition when he wrote his article the night Team Canada deafeted the USA in men’s hockey. Perhaps his comparison should be with Salt Lake, and not Berlin.So Canada showed some pride? Comparing that to Nazi Germany’s ’36 olympics is completely out of line. His aplogy (if you want to call it that) was lame if not even further insulting. They should fire his ass, and I assure you the heat will continue until he is swiftly reprimanded.




  6.  
    Sean

    Lebreton’s original article is in a word….sad. Did he not notice the faces of people from every corner of the globe in those hockey games he saw? Surely he missed the 3 Sikh’s wearing Canadian flag turbans and face painted maple leafs – just one example of many thousands of wonderful celebrants at these games! Canada has not always been a country of tolerance and acceptance, but we have certainly grown into one in a wonderful and inclusive way. For anyone to make a connection between these Vancouver Games, and the Nazi Party is beyond bizarre, most certainly ludicrous, and is probably the most pure example I know of the concept of “missing the point”.. He best go back to journalism school…assuming he ever went in the first place.




  7.  
    Vince

    What he said is everywhere in the country, all over the radio waves and most likely on TV as well.

    I just listened to a podcast of a radio show in my area (the show has listeners as far as Japan) about this guy and it disgusted me. People are enraged that someone could actually compare our country to the Nazis is ridiculous. We are a VERY patriotic country, some people don’t know that. One of the athletes of the USA said he thought Americans were patriotic.. and compared to us “Not even close”.

    This is a rare opportunity for us to show our pride for our country, can he not see that? Americans celebrate during many of the national sporting events on their patriotism (i.e. Superbowl, every damn Nascar race) etc and that’s ok, we don’t mind.

    You better start running Gil people are pissed….. oh wait, judging by your picture you won’t be getting too far.

    This guy looks like a toucher and should raid his house for child porn.

    Looks like his Twitter account is already down….




  8.  
    Tom Hawthorn

    Virtual lynching? Incredible that a Texas newspaper would use that in a headline, considering your state has an unenviable historical reputation for the real thing.

    Gil LeBreton made an ass of himself by comparing the maple leaf in 2010 to the swastika of 1936. I remind Jeff Prince and readers of the Weekly that Canada went to war to fight the scourge of Naziism 27 months before the United States entered the war. We do not need lessons about toughening up from pissants like Jeff Prince.

    Since an understanding of history does not seem to be a strong point for Texas journalists, I’d like to make this one observation about the difference between Canadian nationalism and German nationalism: We are not about to annex the Sudetenland.




  9.  
    Sean

    What is this guy. A longhorn asshole?
    Canadian soldiers liberated holland from the nazis.
    Canadian soldiers were butting heads with the nazis before america.
    This guys is a true blue asshole.
    Go jump in the lake Gills.




  10.  
    Dougie

    >Vince said:
    >”This guy looks like a toucher and should raid his house for child porn”

    Overreact much, Vince? Suggesting that Lebreton molests children is a little bit over the line, jackass. Go cry in your poutine you canuck crybaby.




  11.  
    Sumi

    Go to YouTube and search out “Crowds chant U-S-A during medal cermoney 2010 Olympics” and you’ll hear how loud the crowd chanted for American medalists. Gil LeBreton was there, but wrote his insulting column as if nothing of that sort happened. Journalists from all over the world covered the Vancouver Olympics, and none of them saw it the same way as LeBreton. It’s impossible to think he wasn’t trying to offend. Who could be so stupid not to realize such a column would be grossly offensive? No decent person would liken the Canadian Flag to the Nazi swastikas at a Nazi-hosted event.




  12.  
    Tracey

    Calm down everyone. This Gil guy clearly has a case of the bully who has been overshadowed syndrome. Those of us who were their know that Canadians cheered loud and proud when they should have and also cheered loud and proud when any other Country won. I saw Bode Miller take his gold and the noise was profound from Canadians and Americans alike.

    Hope you feel better Gil. It must have been tough for you.




  13.  
    Jenn

    Well people are heated about this.

    If we look at the history of the Olympics there has always been considerable home turf propaganda. And why wouldn’t there be? It’s a chance for that country and region to show off what makes them unique.

    I am a very proud Canadian. I don’t and won’t apologize for my Canadian pride. I am sure people all over the world feel the same about their own countries especially during times of great accomplishment. I jumped up and down in my living room when Canada won their first Gold medal. I did the same when they won all the rest of their medals too. People cheered in the streets when the Men’s curling team won gold (yep, the curling team got cheers too).

    This was a time to show celebration. All the many faces and cultures came together to show the world that yes we can all live together. We are a population who is inclusive and accepting. We can have different cultures, histories, religions and beliefs. We can do all that and still be proud.

    If Gil feels that he needs to make the comparison with the Nazis then so be it. It’s just to bad that he didn’t see past the flags and enjoy himself. If he felt bombarded with the Canadian flag on T-shirts, sweatshirts and painted on faces it’s because each of those individuals felt a reason for it. I am happy that the Olympics connected Canadians, it meant connecting the hundreds of cultures, religions and beliefs people have throughout the world, if only for a moment. It just showed the world what Canada is really made of.




  14.  
    Dion

    So if America has its flag everywhere during their Olympic games, that perfectly fine, but Canada isn’t allowed to do the same thing?

    Jeff, toughening up? Like Tom said, Canada was fighting in Europe WAY before America decided to get off her high horse. If you’ve ever met a Vancouverite, you know we criticize our city and our country all the time. But the difference is that we think before we speak.




  15.  
    Dave

    Now us Canadians know what the Americans must feel when they are knocked down for doing so well. We should also feel secure enough not to let Gil’s comments bother us. His viewpoints have left him alienated and I’m sure feeling very humiliated. He screwed up. So has everybody else I know. I can forgive the man. Let him be.
    To all our American friends, for the most part your Press has been very kind and gracious in covering the games in Vancouver. Your athletes performed incredibly well and have conducted themselves in a way which should make you feel proud. Congratulations, and all the best.




  16.  
    John

    Dave, your point is duly noted. However,the last thing that should happen here is for the column to go unnoticed. As a Canadian living in Fort Worth, I almost fell off my, er, toilet, when I read his article. I thought I was the only one outraged, but was happy to see others speak up. As he Gil said, “I had my say, and now they (his critics) have theirs”. I can tell you he is not sorry and if anything spiteful as to what occured. I am just happy this will “haunt” him the rest of his life.




  17.  
    toxicbob

    “Canadians are used to being characterized as friendly but bland, wimpy but nice.”

    Fuck you Fort Worthless.




  18.  
    Paul

    Toxicbob does not speak for Canadians… Our beef was only with Gil Lebreton and his comments…one of which claimed we only cheered our own and snubbed everyone else…Check this out and judge,, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpMxF20x5wk
    You all come visit any time




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