Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Zack Bradley, 20, is a first-year Carleton University journalism student from Oshawa whose anonymous online alias was one of 18 named in a defamation lawsuit filed by former Leaf's general manager Brian Burke.
This is Zack Bradley, 20 years old and student at Carleton University, a fine educational institution known for its journalism program, its CIS basketball domination and soon to be home to a CIS football team.   Zack Bradley might need all of his journalistic acumen, and some of men's basketball coach Dave Smarts' legendary intensity to get out of the pickle that he is currently in for he is in the cross hairs of the the bombastic, curmudgeonly, truculent, belligerent Brian Burke.  Yes, the same Brian Burke who got fired by the Toronto Maple Leafs in January, for reasons somewhat unknown, and in a grey area that should be reserved for the latest Crayola Crayon.  

Brian Burke, former Toronto Maple Leafs GM, has launched a lawsuit against 18 anonymous online commenters who he alleges spread untrue sexual gossip about him.

Bradley was one of 18 people who speculated that one of the reasons that Burke got turfed from MLSE was because of an unfounded, and false rumour that Burke was the father of Sportsnets Anchor Hazel Mae's  baby.  Not sure if the baby came out with unbuttoned shirt and a tie, or with a magnificent coif or not.  Its the stuff urban legends are made of. For Leaf fans back in the 80's it was that Wendel Clark was gay or that Gary Leeman was having an affair with Al Iafrate's wife. Same falsehood, same unfounded speculation, different medium.  

While the merits of the lawsuit have yet to be determined and the posts deleted, I heartily endorse Mr Burkes' somewhat zealous pursuit of this 18 alleged perpetrators.   Finally someone who has posted something on the internet under the cloak of anonymity is to be held accountable for their actions.   

Hey, the lawsuit may have absolutely no merit whatsoever, but if it serves the purpose of making those with a poison keyboard think twice before spew nonsense, hatefulness and untruths, then mission accomplished.  Far too many times people grow a set and feel they can post whatever they want under a flimsy pretense of Freedom of Expression because of a lack of Internet accountability.  I've always advocated that people post under their real names, so they can stand behind whatever it was they said and accept the consequences that come with it.  

Zack Bradley, or whatever he was known as on the Internet might think twice about what he is speculating or endorsing and even if he does not have to a dime, the message would be sent and received.  Think of  what Burke is doing  as the legal online version of employing Colton Orr and Fraser MacLaren on the same shift.   

Burke, a lawyer by trade, and an intimidating presence by nature might just be the one to blow the lid off of Internet anonymity. Nothing wrong with a little truculence or belligerence here. 

Steve Clark
some good articles on this case, and what the legal implications can be found here: 

and here: 

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