Uber driver who posted Senators video wasn’t in ‘right state of mind’

Ottawa Senators assistant coach Martin Raymond (left) and Senators forward Matt Duchene are shown during a team practice in Ottawa on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. (Fred Chartrand/CP)

James Sparklin, the Uber driver who posted the revealing video of Ottawa Senators players Chris Wideman, Matt Duchene, Thomas Chabot, Chris Tierney, Dylan DeMelo, and Alex Formenton harshly criticizing their team’s coaching staff and on-ice systems says he wasn’t in the “right state of mind” when he was putting the video up on YouTube.

Speaking to the Ottawa Citizen’s Kelly Egan, Sparklin expressed regret for what he did, calling his decision to put the video up “the dumbest decision” of his life, but also attempted to defend his actions.

The root of Sparklin’s motivation, as Egan reports, is that Sparklin says he wasn’t prepared for a seven-person passenger pick-up and was concerned his $1-million liability coverage wouldn’t be enough.

“What really upset me the most was, if I were to get in an accident, I don’t believe the insurance would cover it,” Sparklin told Egan. “The million-dollar policy would go very fast.”

Though he knew the seven Senators he was driving were high-priced athletes, Sparklin says he didn’t recognize any of them, but, as Egan reports, Sparklin was dismayed by the candour and crassness of language used by them.

“I think when you see that video, it’s kind of shocking,” said Sparklin. “I’m just not accustomed to that kind of language and how they’re talking in that kind of atmosphere.”

As such, by transporting the Senators septet, coupled by their tone and language, Sparklin told Egan he was put “at high risk” and so he wanted to show other drivers the behaviour of his high-profile passengers the stress they caused him and so he opted to post the now infamous video while he was in an intoxicated state.

The aftermath of the incident hasn’t been pretty for Sparklin as he was fired from being an Uber driver under conditions that he had violed their terms of service after being one for the past two and a half years.

“I didn’t think about my actions at all. I wasn’t trying to get money or anything like that. I got contacted and took it down right away.”

Unfortunately for Sparklin, he didn’t take it down fast enough before it went viral, and now he’s paying the price.

“I’m worried about my name getting out. My life being ruined and my children.”

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