For the second time this week, Pierre Lebrun has whitewashed the NHL’s image in light of the arrests, convictions and criminal investigations of a number of its players.
The first time he was writing about the LA Kings specifically, and then today a more general piece on the NHL and NHLPA’s plans to provide more education to players, presumably, on how to behave like decent human beings.
But the problem I have with both of these pieces is the lengths he goes to tells us that the NHL is different from those other sports. These are just “disconnected arrests or incidents” according to Lebrun.
Indeed, they are. But is he suggesting that the incidents plaguing the NFL, for example, are connected?
Why does the NFL get a bad rap, while the NHL remains “accustomed to a clean image”?
What if instead of Richards, Voynov and Patrick Kane we were talking about Ho-Sang, Subban and Evander Kane?
The point is this: there is nothing about a professional hockey player that makes them immune to the effects of growing up too rich, too fast in a testosterone-fueled environment, surrounded by adoring fans. So stop pretending there is, and stop saying things like this:
For a sport so accustomed to a clean image, the past 12 months have been a tough pill to swallow for the NHL and its players.
Suddenly, hockey is sharing some of the same dubious headlines normally reserved for other sports and leagues.
Because I’m not sure how you can think dubious headlines are reserved for other sports unless you’ve already forgotten about names like (off the top of my head and in no particular order) MacTavish, Heatley, McSorley, Bertuzzi, Roy, Varlamov, Ribeiro, Doughty, Belfour, Lindros, Stoll, Malone…
So if you really think there is a difference between professional hockey players and professional football players, for example, then go ahead ask yourself why you believe that to be the case.
As an aside, I also can’t quite let that first sentence in Lebrun’s column today go without commenting on “tough pill to swallow.” Like really? Did we already forget why Mike Richards was arrested? I almost fell out of my chair when I read that.
It’s not like it shouldn’t have been top of mind considering he just wrote about the Kings’ legal troubles two days earlier, once again starting it off by whitewashing the league:
The NHL is not accustomed to headlines involving arrests and court dates.
That’s normally for other sports leagues.
It is surreal that the Los Angeles Kings have had three separate off-ice incidents over the past 12 months considering the tight-knit, family fabric that the organization made its bones on while winning a pair of Stanley Cups.
But despite the arrests of Slava Voynov, Jarret Stoll and Mike Richards in separate incidents, the Kings very much intend to remain a family-type team.
You know who else likes to maintain a tight-knit, family organization:
And for good measure, he uses the phrase “making your bones“, which is a term actually used in the mafia for performing your first contract killing and becoming a “made man”. You can’t make this stuff up, folks.
At this point, I think Lebrun might just be trolling us.
But I do want to go back to today’s column, because it included a quote for Tyler Seguin that was making the rounds all day:
“You have to be so careful of other people,” Seguin said this week. “It’s changing to the point of where it was cool to see a celebrity athlete out, to ‘How can I get money?’ or ‘How can I hurt this person?’ It’s sad. It started in the other leagues, now it’s coming to our league.”
This is, at best, showing a complete lack of awareness about what has been going on with the Ribeiro lawsuit and the Patrick Kane investigation, and at worst, a callous disregard for what the victims of sexual assault have to go through.
Either way there is absolutely no thought given to how the “celebrity athlete” himself his behaving. It’s all about what is being done to him. There is zero consideration for the “other people” and how athletes might be affecting them. Zero.
If one thing has become clear over the last couple of months it’s that Tyler Seguin should use his mouth less and Jamie Benn should use it more:
And really, my advice to Seguin, the rest of the NHL and the media that covers it, is the same as my advice to Benn: get over yourself and think about the other person. Maybe then there’ll be a happy ending for all involved.
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