Tuesday, December 09, 2008

If it's hockey season...

...there must be someone behaving badly.
And it's true. Now that hockey season is in full swing there's news that goes beyond scores and amazing shots.
Last week (or so) I got an email from a listserv member that praised the NHL for suspending one of its players after he called his ex-girlfriend "sloppy seconds because she was dating another (or more than one other) NHL player. There was much excitement because those of us concerned with sport and social and gender justice are frequently disappointed by the response of administrators to bad, often misogynist, behavior.
Alas the email did not mention the parties involved. More research into the story revealed a few caveats.
The player in question is Sean Avery of the Dallas Stars who is a notorious bad boy. And, he's not really performing all that well--at least not well enough to compensate for the controversy he creates. So it's not a huge loss.
And the girlfriend in question is actually girlfriends: actress Elisha Cuthbert and model Rachel Hunter who are both dating other NHLers now.
In other words, don't expect the NHL or even a team to react similarly when it's a more valuable player and the woman is not famous. I could give you countless examples of situations in which organizations stood behind players under pretty sketchy circumstances while the woman in question was vilified. Anyone remember that guy Kobe?
Lest you think I am a Debbie Downer, I am pleased the NHL reacted very quickly and definitively when this situation arose. Maybe if a similar situation, with different characters, arises we can hold the NHL to the standard it set here.

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