Flyers star Jakub Voracek called a reporter a “weasel” during a stunning tirade Friday night.
Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Mike Sielski, who was critical of Voracek last October, asked the 31-year forward whether this unprecedented season felt different.
Appearing agitated as Sielski spoke, Voracek buried his head in his hands and responded, “Doesn’t matter what I say, Mike, you’re gonna write f–king shit every time.”
Teammate Travis Konecky, who also was on the podium during the video call, nearly spit out his drink.
Voracek then said this season did feel “different,” paused, and proceeded to further scold Sielski.
“I wasn’t even gonna answer your question, you’re such a weasel it’s not even funny,” Voracek, a Czech native, said. “Next question.”
The two players briefly giggled as another reporter began asking a question about the Flyers’ 5-2 win over the rival Penguins.
Sielski, in an interview with the Philadelphia-based website Crossing Broad, suggested Voracek’s anger may have stemmed from a column he wrote last season when the Flyers were 5-5-1 and coming off back-to-back lopsided losses.
Sielski wrote that Voracek and teammate James van Riemsdyk were laughing while head coach Alain Vigneault urged his “top players to lead the way for us.”
He said he apologized and updated the column after the Flyers’ public relations department reached out “because they thought I was writing that Voracek and van Riemsdyk were laughing at Alain Vigneault.”
If Voracek was indeed laughing at his coach, Sielski wrote in the updated column, “Well, Vigneault already has dropped Voracek to the fourth line once this season, and maybe it’s time for a Flyers head coach to point out the limitations of the two players the franchise has for years regarded and treated as indispensable,” the other player being captain Claude Giroux.
Sielski, who has been a sports columnist for the Inquirer for seven years, said he offered to “smooth things over” with Voracek.
That apparently never happened.
Voracek tweeted Saturday that Sielski never reached out to him following the incident, “cause he knew I was gonna snap. Trust me I’d love to [meet] face to face. That was our first interaction since,” he said, referring to the Friday’s video call.
The media’s access has dwindled since March, when last season was paused because of the coronavirus. In-person interviews have been off-limits ever since.
Sielski defended himself Saturday morning after his past tweets appearing to criticize Voracek resurfaced.
One tweet Sielski wrote in 2016 said, “The #Flyers are collapsing, and it’s Jake Voracek’s fault. My column:”
He said it was written in jest.
“There’s no column,” he said. “It’s a “joke I make all the time.”
The Flyers entered this season, which began three months later than usual and is unlike any other due to the COVID-19 outbreak, as a popular pick to win the Stanley Cup.
Voracek, who is in the fifth year of an eight-year contract worth $66 million, had two assists in Friday’s win.