It’s been a rough summer for the NHL, with multiple players associated with incidents of domestic violence and/or sexual assault. Twitter has been ablaze with outrage from all corners over these incidents, and how the NHL and its teams are handling these situations.
In the rush to craft the wittiest snipe or most virulent calls for justice, people tend to forget that a multi-billion dollar business like the NHL can well afford to ignore all that hot air. Implicit in those complaints is the realization that the league and its teams are motivated by the bottom line above all else.
Let that soak in for a second and consider… as an aggrieved hockey fan what are you willing to do to express your displeasure with the league or your favorite team?
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
Today I cancelled my renewal of NHL GameCenter Live for this season, saving myself $131 and keeping that money out of the league’s hands. In particular I was disappointed to see how Nashville Predators GM David Poile signed Mike Ribeiro to a lucrative two-year contract extension after horrific, detailed allegations of sexual assault came to light. This was followed shortly thereafter by a settlement of the civil suit against Ribeiro, making it look all too much like Poile came to Ribeiro’s rescue in order to keep a key player on the ice.
Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane is at the center of the most high-profile case, as an ongoing criminal investigation into rape allegations has gone sideways in Buffalo. The accuser’s attorney came out today with shocking allegations of evidence tampering that could jeopardize the investigation, highlighting the difficulties that face sexual assault victims when they try to seek justice.
While one can debate whether Kane should be suspended from the Hawks’ training camp (I can see compelling arguments on both sides there), the Blackhawks should certainly come under fire for taking such a strong stance in support of Kane’s innocence, providing him a PR platform from which to argue his case.
As I saw the news about today’s press conference, I thought to myself, how can I spend money on a league which appears all too willing to help players weasel their way out of trouble? That’s what prompted me to take action and cancel my GameCenter subscription. I’m not saying the league or the Blackhawks had anything to do with these evidence tampering allegations, but today’s events made me consider the whole scheme of things once again.
I haven’t even gotten into the farce in Los Angeles, where the Kings immediately voided the contract of aging center Mike Richards when he was arrested (not charged) for trying to cross the US/Canada border with prescription pain killers, but then held onto the rights of Slava Voynov, who fled back to Russia before he could be deported after pleading no-contest to domestic violence charges.
So ask yourself: if you’re so honked off at the NHL or an individual team like Chicago, Nashville or Los Angeles, what are you going to do about it other than complain on Twitter?