MUSINGS, MAY 20, 2017

My Take On The Pillar Affair

            Kevin Pillar hurled a homophobic slur at Atlanta pitcher Jason Motte, an action that is not acceptable in today’s society.

             Although his post-game apology was slightly equivocal (namely his “heat of the moment” rationale), it’s to be remembered that Pillar is a professional baseball player, not a professional communicator. After obviously getting some sound professional advice he handled himself impeccably and unequivocally during the press conference the following afternoon.

             His suspension and accompanying loss of about $8,000 of salary (I heard there may also have been an undisclosed fine), are minor components of the overall price Pillar is going to pay. The hit on his reputation and the inevitable barbs he’s going to face, on and off the playing field, are going to be harder to take and much longer-lasting.

             The Blue Jays did a good job in, as the current public relations mantra goes, “getting out in front of” the situation. But then the comparisons to the Escobar affair began.

             About five years ago, Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar painted the same homophobic insult on his face, in a foreign language, and in letters so small you’d have to be staring him in the face (and be able to read Spanish) in order to be insulted.  Escobar got a three-game suspension and was traded a couple of months later. Given the heightened sensitivity toward such affronts in 2017, plus the fact that anyone with even the most elemental lip-reading skills knew exactly what Pillar said (and there were hundreds of thousands of fans watching on TV), many thought, as I did at first, that Pillar was getting off lightly.

             But then it was pointed out to me that Escobar’s malfeasance was meticulously premeditated, whereas Pillar’s misconduct really was “in the heat of the moment” during a pretty intense game. I accept that the circumstances of the two situations are sufficiently different that the two games are adequate.

             An aside here regarding the Blue Jays/ Pillar press conference: Press conferences where the questioners are not provided microphones via which to ask their questions, of which this was one, are somewhat ineffective and monumentally annoying.

My Involvement In The Entertainment Business

            I was asked a few days ago how many entertainers I had advised in one way or another throughout my career. I didn’t know the answer off the cuff, but after some thought I came up with the following names.

            Michael Burgess

           John Allan Cameron


           George Fox

           Bill Langstroth

           Gene MacLellan

            Rita MacNeil

            Tia McGraff

            Frank Mills

            Anne Murray

            Bruce Murray

            Oscar Petersen

            The Rankin Family

             Riki Turofsky

            Jon Vickers

            David Wilcox

            A close examination of this list reveals that it ranges from rock (Crowbar and David Wilcox) to opera (Jon Vickers and Riki Turofsky) and just about everything in between.

            A common misconception is that my involvement in the entertainment business began with Anne Murray. In fact, my association with Jon Vickers, Crowbar, and Riki Turofsky all pre-dated Anne.

            My entertainment activity spanned over twenty-seven years, beginning in 1968 when I joined the accounting firm Coopers & Lybrand and inherited Jon Vickers as a tax client, and lasting until 1995 when my association with Anne Murray ended. Because I wanted to spend all my time doing executive coaching, I actually tried to end my entertainment business affairs over a year earlier. In June, 1994, I informed all affected that I was packing it up, which happened at the end of August.  However, when Anne’s manager, Leonard Rambeau, became terminally ill in February, 1995, she asked me to come back to help the transition to a new management team, which I did for about eight or nine months.

            There were far too many high points during those entertaining (pun intended) years to list here; they would probably require a book, which I have no intention of ever writing. But the two highlights that stand out for me were the friendship I developed with Chet Atkins and the night I played with Earl Scruggs. If you are interested in learning more about either of these, there are articles about both on my website Click on the “Journal” page and search for “How I Became Friends With Chet Atkins” and “The Night I Played With Earl Scruggs.”


MUSINGS, MAY 27, 2017

MUSINGS, MAY 13, 2017