Hockey Leads Today

Everything – – and I do mean everything – – that I know about youth hockey in Canada comes from reading Gregg Drinnan’s blog Taking Note.  A posting there from earlier this week demonstrated to me that outrageous adult behavior related to youth sports is not confined to the US.  Here is a rough outline of what happened:

  • The North American Hockey Classic (NAHC) is a tournament for multiple youth hockey teams ages 7 through 12.  It was held in Winnipeg; Winnipeg is in Manitoba.
  • Five teams from Saskatchewan participated in this year’s NAHC.  According to an official in the Saskatchewan government, “Currently, inter-provincial travel is discouraged but not banned.  Inter-provincial travel for competition for tournaments is not permitted at this time.”

So, what’s the big deal?  The chronological adults nominally in charge of these teams misunderstood the regulations and  took a bunch of kids to do what kids do in Canada – – play hockey.  No one should get their bowels in an uproar over that.  Except … maybe – just maybe – those adults really did know that what they were doing was wrong because:

  • They played in the tournament under team names different from the ones they normally play under.
  • They withheld player names on the official game rosters.
  • They forbid parents who accompanied the team from posting any pictures or comments on social media.

From everything I have read, junior hockey in Canada is a way of life and it has passionate and dedicated followers and supporters.  I guess it is like the atmosphere surrounding high school football in Texas.  Nonetheless, that does not excuse the team officials here.  What they did was wrong on multiple levels; here are only two such levels:

  1. The travel restrictions are in place because of COVID-19.  Even if you want to argue that the travel and the participation only raised the likelihood of a child contracting the virus, adults in charge of entities involving children have a responsibility for safety and security.
  2. What is the lesson for those kids (ages 7-12) to learn here?  If there is a rule or regulation that gets in your way, then what you should do is to figure out a way to circumvent that rule/regulation in such a way that you are not likely to get caught?

Even if you want to target government officials for promulgating ambiguous regulations here, the measures taken by those five teams is deplorable.  It probably does not good to say, “Shame on them,” because their behavior seems to indicate that they do not understand “shame”.  Go to Gregg Drinnan’s blog, Taking Note and read the July 28 posting for more details here.

Yesterday, I mentioned that the socially aware NBA would not be sporting any social justice icons or slogans that might offend the Chinese government because of the large revenue stream that flows to the NBA from China.  Today, there is a story from ESPN that there are multiple accusations of “child abuse” at some of the NBA Academies in China.  According to ESPN, a coach describes one of these academies as “a sweat camp for athletes” and the report says that several coaches have resigned over the treatment of athletes there.

There are reports of physical abuse of athletes and there are reports that the academics that kids are supposed to get there in parallel with their athletic training are lacking.  US coaches who were involved as overseers of the camps have resigned over the lack of academics and over the sub-standard living conditions associated with some of the academies.

The NBA should not go out of its way to offend the Chinese government and injure its revenue stream from China; after all, the NBA is a business and revenue matters.  The problem here is that the NBA begins to look like it is in the business of hypocrisy.  The NBA wants to be seen here as a change agent for social justice – – but it ignores horrible social injustices perpetrated by the folks in charge of its revenue stream and now it appears that it has lent its name and its “brand” to activities that qualify as child abuse.

My position here is pretty straightforward:

  1. No one – anywhere – should seek to perpetrate social injustices.
  2. People who abuse children are antediluvian pond slime.
  3. The NBA ought not to try to be seen as an army of social justice warriors while also cozying up to folks who engage in the behaviors enumerated above.

Denver Nuggets’ forward, Michael Porter, Jr., is on record as a COVID-19 minimizer at best and maybe even a denier.  According to USA Today Porter says the virus is “being used to control people” and that it is “overblown”.  Here is some of what Porter had to say:

“Personally, I think the coronavirus is being used obviously for a bigger agenda.  It’s being used for population control just in terms of being able to control the masses of people.  Because this virus, the whole world is being controlled.  You’re required to wear masks and who knows what will happen when this vaccine comes out.  You might have to have the vaccine in order to travel, that’d be crazy.  I’ve never been vaccinated in my life; I’ve never had any shots or anything like that.”

Finally, here is a Tweet from humorist, Brad Dickson, at the intersection of sports, politics and COVID-19:

“You know the world is messed up when Mariano Rivera is attending the White House briefing and Dr. Anthony Fauci is warming up to take the mound at a major-league stadium.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………