Tony DeAngelo and his social media were at it again the other day, causing another potential distraction. Or perhaps, they were at it again by deactivating once again. DeAngelo fired off a series of tweets and Instagram posts stating he was done with Twitter and Instagram, and moving to the app Parler. This was done in protest to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat banning Donald Trump following the attempted coup earlier this week.
Whether we want to write about it or not, the DeAngelo tweets are a story. It’s something that not just Ranger fans, but all of hockey social media are talking about. His decision to publicly state he is going to Parler is also at the root of this.
*As an aside – I hate writing about this crap. It’s stupid, and takes away from actual hockey content. However this is something being talked about, and it didn’t disappear overnight. It’s clear others want to talk about it, or at least read about it. I am trying my very best to present the facts of what happened, coupled with the discussion that he might be a distraction.
For those who don’t know, Parler is the app that most far-right Trump supporters and Q-Anon believers used to organize the coup earlier this week. The app was recently suspended from the Apple App Store and Google Play due to a lack of moderation. It’s that lack of moderation that allowed it to become the home of the domestic terrorists that staged the coup. This is important when a public figure like DeAngelo states he is going to that platform.
The team insists that there is no distraction with DeAngelo. Mollie Walker, Vince Mercogliano, and Rick Carpiniello all asked these questions. The Rangers came back with the same consistent answer. There is no distraction, and the team will manage DeAngelo internally. This is how the Rangers say, “it happened, we know about it, so stop asking.”
DeAngelo has been no stranger to social media, and is the only NY Rangers player to be vocal on any platform. He’s challenged fans to fights in the past. He made an ill-advised tweet appearing to question COVID-19, which led to his first account deactivation. To say he’s controversial would be putting it mildly. The question is: At what point does this become a distraction?
This is a difficult question to answer. DeAngelo is clearly well liked in the locker room. However it’s hard to ignore his attention-seeking behavior. Jacob Trouba is an outspoken anti-Trump teammate, and might now be his defense partner. K’Andre Miller was the victim of a racist attack on a Zoom call last year, and is now his teammate. This is not to say both players are anti-DeAngelo, they probably aren’t. They are all teammates.
But at what point do screenshots of DeAngelo’s activity on Parler become public knowledge? You know they will. Someone will post them at some point. It’s inevitable.
For DeAngelo, he should be counting his lucky stars that he had a breakout season last year. Without that kind of production, the Rangers likely would have walked. But it’s hard to walk from a defenseman that put up 53 points in 68 games last season. His on-ice production forced the Rangers into a “show me” two year deal.
The Rangers open the season against the Islanders in less than a week. Yet here we are, writing about someone’s social media behavior. The Rangers may say Tony DeAngelo isn’t a distraction publicly, but it’s hard to believe them. This is the main story that has dominated Rangers headlines for the past two days. Hopefully this is the end of it, and we can just talk about hockey. But for now, it is the major discussion point. And that is disappointing.