Mark Madden: Don’t cancel Jack Edwards for harmless Pat Maroon fat jokes


Pat Maroon is maybe five pounds overweight. He’s a professional hockey player. How fat could he be?

But the Tampa Bay winger nonetheless became a martyr for the overweight via an incident that took petty and self-righteous to a whole new level.

Jack Edwards does play-by-play for Boston Bruins games on NESN. He’s a throwback, an old-school home-team announcer. At 65, he’s rough around the edges in a fun way. He talks to his audience, not woke Twitter.

Edwards isn’t boring. He’s got bite. That’s good. Every new play-by-play announcer in every sport has us drowning in a sea of bland.

Edwards poked fun at Maroon’s weight during Tuesday’s Tampa Bay-Boston game.

Noting that Maroon’s listed weight is 238 pounds, Edwards said, “That was Day 1 of training camp. I’ve got a feeling he’s had a few more pizzas between then and now. (Intermittent) fasting for Pat Maroon is like four hours without a meal.”

Edwards noted Maroon’s accomplishments, too: “Hey, three (Stanley) Cups in a row. Who can argue with his formula?” Maroon won Cups with St. Louis in 2019 and with Tampa Bay in ’20 and ’21.

That’s light-hearted banter, nothing more.

But the woke brigade doesn’t see it like that, accusing Edwards of body-shaming.

Maroon piled on, contributing $2,000 in Edwards’ name to an organization called Tampa Bay Thrives “in support of those struggling with mental health, bullying and body image.”

Here’s thinking Maroon did that primarily to put heat on Edwards. Maybe Maroon turned this into something good. Or maybe Maroon turned this into self-promotion.

I’m about 100 pounds overweight. I’ve battled weight issues and body-shaming my whole life. I’ve swallowed a lot of aggression. Along with a lot of pizzas.

Maroon, as mentioned, is maybe five pounds overweight. Ten, tops.

Yet, Maroon has become a martyr for fat people.

I get called a fat pig every day on Twitter. I’ve been called a fat pig most days during my 61 years. Very few find fault with that. If I complain, the standard response is, “Well, you are fat. If you don’t want that to happen, lose weight, tubby.” (Such talk made me tougher. But not thinner.)

Maroon is the butt of a benign joke, and the response is, “Oh my God, poor Pat. Are you OK? How can we help? Where can we contribute? Jack Edwards should be fired.” Like Maroon is Lizzo on skates.

You don’t think guys in his dressing room call Maroon fat? Ex-NHLer Bobby Ryan tweeted that Maroon has “been ‘fat Pat’ since we were seven years old.” Find every teammate and foe that ever body-shamed Maroon and berate them, too.

Edwards just brought a bit of chirping from the ice and dressing room up to the broadcast booth. It’s harmless.

It’s not like Maroon is some overweight grade-schooler being bullied in a playground. Believe me, that kid does not connect his problems to a pro athlete. This is not inspiration.

So, bleep Pat Maroon and the ice-cream truck he rode in on. What a total, absolute crock this is. Take it from somebody who’s legitimately fat.

That $2,000 Maroon contributed could have been better spent on Hostess products. Ding Dongs look like hockey pucks.