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Sharks upset after Thornton quoted in Vancouver newspaper

Oct 10, 2013, 6:02 PM EDT

Chicago Blackhawks v San Jose Sharks Getty Images

The San Jose Sharks are unhappy that an off-color comment made today in Vancouver by captain Joe Thornton was published on the website of The Province newspaper.

Said comment (which we referenced here, but did not reprint) spread quickly on the internet, ending up on popular sites like Deadspin and trending on Twitter.

Speaking to the San Jose Mercury News, Sharks director of media relations Scott Emmert called The Province’s use of the quote “a pathetic attempt to generate some page hits and controversy by reporting an off-the-cuff and off-the-record comment made by someone who wasn’t even being interviewed at the time.”

But Province reporter Jason Botchford denies the quote was off the record, writing on Twitter: “Joe cut off a question in a scrum. He yelled to cut it off. He was putting on a show. This wasn’t a joke in a corner.”

Anyway, the whole thing has set off quite the journalistic debate. Should Thornton have clarified that what he said was off the record if he didn’t want it published? Or, should it have been understood that it was off the record, if only because quotes like that very rarely end up in mainstream publications?

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