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2019: The year social justice came for hockey
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2019: The year social justice came for hockey 

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Social justice has come for the NHL. And Ron MacLean, fresh off of throwing his broadcasting partner and better half Don Cherry under the bus, has bought in 100%.

During the intermission of Hockey Night in Canada this Saturday on Sportsnet, MacLean addressed his guests, Kwame Mason and Tara Slone:

“I said to Kwame, I don’t see you as black, I don’t see Tara as a woman. And then I realized, ‘There’s your white male privilege. You know what, Ron? You don’t have to see that because you don’t need to see that.'”

He then went on to apologize for not having enough people of colour pick the three stars on Hockey Night in Canada and for the structural racism and sexism of hockey. You can watch the clip here:

Of course, the ironic thing is that Ron MacLean’s original way of viewing Mason or Sloane was correct. He didn’t see Mason as a black man and he didn’t see Sloane as a woman. He saw them both as fellow human beings.

Now, he has been re-educated (so that he may keep his job) to only see them for the minority groups they represent. This is objectively more racist and sexist, but it’s the kind of racism and sexism that social justice demands. Ron MacLean is now safe.

The social panic sweeping over hockey started with the debacle of Don Cherry’s firing from Sportsnet for saying “you people” in reference to immigrants who don’t wear the poppy (an incident that he was willing to clarify and apologize for).

More recently, Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters was fired for uttering the N-word to a player many years ago as an assistant coach for another team. Whether Peters should have been fired, fined, or otherwise sanctioned after his apology is a matter up for debate. Certainly, people have said and done worse and kept their jobs, but the trudge toward progress made any such nuanced discussion impossible.

Since these incidents, far-left Canadian pundits such as Jess Allen and Nora Loreto have claimed that hockey is inherently racist or white supremacist. Allen claimed that hockey players were “white boys” and “bullies” while Loreto proclaimed in a boastful tweet that hockey leads to “white supremacy and misogyny.” 

Take note. This is how social justice movements always work. They take individual instances of inappropriateness or intolerance (or even something as mild as a misunderstanding) and they apply those instances to an entire culture and claim that the community must be fixed at any cost. Of course, this means consultants, specialists, diversity trainers, federal assistance and a whole lot of hand wringing.

It doesn’t seem to matter to these crusaders who want to clean the culture that Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of our hockey-loving country, has been the centre of racist incidents more times than he can even remember.

No reasonable person could say that Bill Peters was more racist than our prime minister. But you see, Trudeau’s past racism is different because he’s on the social justice team! He can lead the nation forward by helping us have these difficult conversations and recognizing. These big bad hockey coaches and players on the other hand, well, they must be punished and banished from the culture because of toxic masculinity and systemic hetero white something something.

We’ve already seen the panic hit social media, with former NHLer Daniel Carcillo attempting to create McCarthyite blacklists of other professional coaches based on rumours:

It’s only going to get worse. But before the entire hockey community drops their sticks in favour of pitchforks, I would like to suggest that the progressivist push to name, shame, and force every “community member” to grovel and pledge their allegiance to intersectionality is not the answer. If hockey continues down this path, it will lose fans and revenue.

Like any culture, hockey has its problems. But those problems are caused by individual human beings. If a coach, player, or fan is acting in a racist or sexist manner, then they should be held accountable as individuals. And matters such as these should be adjudicated between the parties who were actually involved in the behaviour.

The shift from individual responsibility to collective guilt is where things skate downhill real fast. Grievance Studies scholar James Lindsay spotted it right away and quite aptly quipped, “LOL RIP hockey”:

This will not end well. Whether it’s the world of music, comedy, film, or professional sports, social justice crusades lead to nothing but division. If the NHL continues to get woke, it will most definitely go broke.

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