Far too often we are now getting reports of players, parents and even coaches using slurs toward each other.
Recently a report has come out that three players in the GTHL were using homophobic slurs and even death threats in a “group chat”. Think about that for a second in the context of all the mass shootings taking place and all the radical social and political movements.
This kind of thing is really dangerous in today’s world. Beyond being inappropriate and downright stupid, this kind of speech or communication is dangerous.
Dangerous because it could lead to someone being victimized, and dangerous because the people using this kind of language can get into real legal trouble.
Years ago, racial, gay, or ethnic jokes were part of society. But that was fifty years ago. It is no longer acceptable or cool to make fun of people, or a group of people in any case. No matter what your personal feelings or beliefs may be, it is simply not acceptable to do these things.
So where do we look for an answer?
The answer is not found in punishments. Three players in the GTHL were suspended. What did that do? If the story is only being made public now, and it happened months ago, how does that deter other people?
When players are suspended for actions on the ice, the investigation is done and the penalty is given swiftly and publicly. But in cases where these slurs are used they drag them out, cover the up, and its only after a long process that the public even becomes aware.
Where are people, hockey players in particular learning these behaviors? At home, in school, in the dressing room? It doesn’t matter because these behaviors can only be learned when some adult is accepting of these behaviors or teaches them in their words or deeds.
Maybe the better idea, instead of suspending players is to suspend parents? Suspend coaches? Suspend people in governing bodies who do not act more quickly and more publicly?
It is the adults who are responsible for controlling how children are educated on what is or is not acceptable. Shouldn’t the adults then be held responsible? Maybe then, when these children see their parents held accountable for the child’s actions, they might think a little about repeating them.
Education begins at home. Acceptable behavior is taught at home. Maybe its time for all of us to look in our own homes and watch how we speak and express thoughts?