Toronto Mike

Steve Simmons Claims Scott Moore Sent Pro-Shapiro / Atkins Memo to Sportsnet Staff

In Steve Simmons' Sunday Notes, which was posted last night, he dropped a rather startling nugget about Sportsnet president Scott Moore. Here's a copy and paste job from the Toronto Sun column.

The next time you hear or read a Rogers media employee making a strong case regarding the job Shapiro and general manager Ross Atkins have done, ask yourself this question: Is that their opinion, or are they adhering to company policy? Recently, Sportsnet president Scott Moore sent out a memo to staff which included an ardent defence of the work Shapiro and Atkins have done, all but saying to give the guys a break. Which is basically an insult of sorts to the many professionals who work for him …

This claim is a doozy, so I sought corroboration. I'm friendly with a number of on-air Sportsnet peeps, many of whom have visited my home for episodes of Toronto Mike'd. Here's my tweet.

This is from Steve Simmons' Sunday Notes.

If Scott Moore actually sent such a memo to staff, I find it very interesting.

Can anyone corroborate?— Toronto Mike (@torontomike) September 9, 2018

Almost immediately, Sportsnet employee Damien Cox chimed in to say he received no such memo from Scott Moore.

Missed that memo.— Damien Cox (@DamoSpin) September 9, 2018

And early this morning, longtime Fan 590 Program Director Nelson Millman shared his experience with such interference from management.

In all of my years running THE FAN 590 for Rogers, I was never once asked/told  by anyone above me, what we should or shouldn’t say on the air.  I sincerely doubt that has changed in the 6 years I have been gone.— NMillman (@nmillman) September 9, 2018

Simmons' claim is quite serious, but I'll need to see or hear further evidence before I'm convinced. If you have further insight, let me know in the comments, or contact me. I'm more than happy to protect sources.


I've been in contact with Scott Moore. He's provided a copy of the email in question. He wrote this last Friday in his regular weekly note to all Sportsnet staff.  His weekly note is a roundup of what is happening around the network.

The hockey season is literally a couple of weeks away and baseball is finishing up the dog days and heading into the real pennant races.
For the Jays, we always seem to have a dramatic story to tell, and this year is no different.  With the Josh Donaldson story playing out in a bizarre way, we once again have an intriguing soap opera to follow.  Of course, we are all over every part of this story.
Yesterday, Stephen Brunt was on The Starting Lineup and put much of the current Jays story into perspective (as he often does well).  Fans are ready to blame management as they did with the Bautista story.  In hindsight, most fans would have to admit management was right on that one.
What's interesting is that the Jays will continue to be a fascinating story over the next 24 months as we get a chance to see how management's strategy plays out.  It's not dis-similar to what happened down the street with the Leafs.  You have to go through some pain to get to the next chapter.  Look at the similarities between having Austin (sic) Matthews and having Vladdy Guerrero Jr.  Both may be franchise players to build around.  For us, telling all sides of the story is going to be a fun challenge.  But it's rarely boring in Jays Land!

Update 2

In this Sunday's column, Steve Simmons has apologized to Scott Moore. Here's what he wrote.

If I’ve learned anything from all the years doing this, it’s that no matter how clearly you write something, how clearly you express an idea, no matter how obvious it may to be you, someone misinterprets the message or the tone of it. And so it was when Rogers Sportsnet president Scott Moore sent a memo to staff recently, as he regularly does.
The memo was seemingly harmless, if not a little on the cheerleader side. But that’s not what I was told about it from various Rogers staff members, some of whom were concerned that Moore was coaching them to treat the Blue Jays front office with kid gloves. Taking their view of the memo and asking some of the most credible people I know at Sportsnet about it, I wrote an item in last week’s column questioning why Moore would do that and wondering about the editorial freedom of those who report on the Jays at Sportsnet.
Then I saw the memo. And I saw nothing it in at all that drove coverage or opinion in any one direction.
While I may quibble with Moore comparing Auston Matthews and the current state of the Maple Leafs to the rebuild the Blue Jays are beginning with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. there was nothing in the note to staff that I thought, in any way, influenced the direction of coverage.
Apologies to the good people at Rogers — many of whom are friends and colleagues — and to the president Moore, whose words were misinterpreted here.
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