March 20, 2017

Something brief on champions and contemptible human beings

People like teams and players for a variety of reasons - as well as dislike teams and players for a variety of reasons. Usually, all it takes is for one player that is liked / disliked for a person to like / dislike a team. We humans are strange like that.

However, there seems to be something of a schism between how men and women see sports. To most women, a player's character matters. To many men, the only thing that matters is how well they play the game.

There are a number of players and former players that most women - as well as many men - find contemptible for their off-ice actions: Patrick Kane (sexual assault charges and regular assault charges), Evander Kane (repeated sexual assault charges), Mike Robeiro (charged with sexually assaulting his nanny), Semyon Varlamov (domestic violence charges), Slava Voynov (domestic violence charges), Martin Brodeur (marrying his sister-in-law), Patrick Roy (domestic violence charges), and so on.

Of course, these are just the ones that get into the news, and not the only things that happen. And naturally, none of these led to convictions (not that Brodeur's situation was a criminal offense, of course), because they're professional athletes. Teams and lawyers have ways to make this sort of stuff disappear.

I don't actually hold athletes up to a higher standard than everyone else. We're all human, and we all muddle through the middle ground of trying to do good and still making mistakes - and that's fine. Athletes are no exception to this rule.

However, there's a big difference between making a mistake and owning up to it and regretting it (which is forgivable), and making a mistake and believing you did nothing wrong - even if you keep making similar mistakes.

So I was watching the Colorado Avalanche at the Chicago Blackhawks last night, and trying to ignore the one player on Chicago's team to the best of my ability. Because that one player is most of why I dislike Chicago these days - although, team management, in supporting this player, isn't high on my list right now, either. And it doesn't matter how good this guy is at playing hockey, or even that he's on American national teams, since I still see him as being a contemptible human being.

And why do I think he's a contemptible human being? Because of things he did off-ice that he claims were misunderstandings. He really thinks he did nothing wrong, despite the fact that the police have been brought into more than one incident. If you have a history of police intervention in your life, then that should be a big warning to you that maybe you're not as good a person as you think you are.

It doesn't matter how great you play the game of hockey, it doesn't matter if you're a champion, it doesn't matter how many medals and awards you've earned. If you're a jerk off the ice, then you're still a jerk off the ice...and that stuff matters to many fans. No one is required to like you, even if you happen to be the best player in the world - and this guy isn't, but still.

Being a so-called "winner" in a sport does not automatically equal being a good person.