John Tortorella vs. cell phones continues to be one of the best longstanding rivalries in sports
John Tortorella’s relationship with the media has been tense at best and toxic at worst throughout his career. The Columbus Blue Jackets head coach loathes the press conference, has no time for stupid questions and has never been afraid to single out certain reporters that draw his ire. His most famous, or infamous, relationship was with the New York Post’s Larry Brooks, one documented in a few clips that belong in YouTube’s Hall-of-Fame.
But if there’s one thing he can’t stand more than the press conference and the reporters in them, it’s cell phones, specifically, when a reporter’s cell phone goes off in a press conference. In Tortorella’s view, if he has to go through this waste of his time he better have your undivided attention and you better not interrupt him with an unruly cell phone. The Sporting News’ Sean Gentille summed up this “eternal struggle” quite nicely back in 2013, pointing to the most egregious cell phone offenses Torts was a part of:
You can really see his blood pressure rise with each ring. On Thursday, following the Blue Jackets practice, one reporter nearly became Torts’ latest victim when his phone began loudly playing what sounds like either a video or a podcast of some sort, and he could not get it to stop. But in a major twist, or a sign that Columbus has mellowed out the veteran head coach, he actually smiled … and laughed .. a lot!
What a wild turn of events. You could see there was a moment that he considered exploding, but eventually couldn’t help but laugh as the phone just kept on playing. As for those “fines,” I have no idea if they are real or not, but he always mentions them when someone’s phone goes off. If he’s actually collecting money from these reporters, he’s a bigger legend than I thought. Torts forever.