The Jonathan Bernier Nelson Mandela Interview: So Excruciatingly Awkward, and Yet So Hard to Look Away (Video)

jonathan bernier nelson mandela interview

Last Friday was the first anniversary of the death of Nelson Mandela, and on Friday night the Toronto Raptors hosted a little gala called “The Giants of Africa” to honor the late South African leader.

It was a pretty fancy affair, really. There was a red carpet, and a bunch of sports celebs. All very glamorous.

Unfortunately, not all the guests were actually there because they, personally, wanted to honor the memory of one of the greatest world leaders of the 20th century. Some were just there because their PR people told them to go. And that includes Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jonathan Bernier.

In fact, Bernier didn’t just not care that much. He actually had no clue who Nelson Mandela was. And apparently he didn’t know he’d have to walk a red carpet and answer questions from reporters, because he definitely did not take the time to Google Mandela.

Here’s the video, which is absolutely brutal. If you don’t think you can handle this awkwardness, you can read the transcript below.

Reporter: Obviously Nelson Mandela, one of the most significant historical figures of the twentieth century. What knowledge or awareness did you have of him growing up, or when did you learn of him?

Bernier: Well obviously growing up, he’s one of the most known athletes in the world. A lot of impact in any kind of sport that he did, and even playing hockey, everyone knows him, right? From being the type of person that he was off the ice and on the ice. It’s unfortunate that he passed a year ago, but, he changed a lot while he was with us, and he’s a tremendous guy. … I just think the way he met that is, you know, to me growing up playing sports with my parents was something really special cause I could share, try to be a leader, try to share things, and things like that where, you know when you’re a group sport you need to do that right? Be as one, and I think that’s what he met, and I think sports is really powerful. A lot of people obviously love to play the game, it can be hockey, basketball football, a lot of people watch that, and I think that’s kind of the message I personally got.

Nice try, Bernier, but no.

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