Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Racial Slurs in Hockey Games

I'm sure this opinion will be unpopular.

Today, TSN reports that the NHL investigated Sean Avery of the Los Angeles Kings (a man who is already on record saying stupid things this season) for making a racial slur against Georges Laraque of the Edmonton Oilers (Laracque is both black and French-Canadian) in their game in Tuesday night's game (Los Angeles won 3-1). Because there is no proof of a slur, the NHL will take no disciplinary action against Avery.

I think the NHL has no place investigating racial slurs that happen in hockey games. I think the NHL has no place discipling players for them. A part of sports is trash talk. Say whatever you have to say to throw your opponent off his game. If you can get into his head and make him spend his effort trying to attack you, then he is not spending his effort trying to beat you in the hockey game. That is a valid technique which can be an intelligent way to win hockey games. It is something that has gone on for years at all levels of hockey (and in many other sports). Trash talk is just that - TRASH. The NHL has no place regulating it during games. If a player wants to say something to taunt another player, then let him. Its merely an attempt to make the NHL overly politically correct.

Ironically, if the NHL didn't bother investigating this stuff, it wouldn't be in the news and it wouldn't be an issue. Trash talk isn't something that should be regulated in the name of political correctness.

I am in no way defending Sean Avery. Its clear that he says stupid things. If the stupid things he says throw Laraque or anyone else on the opposing team off his game, then more power to Avery. What you can say in a trash talk situation in a hockey game is different from what you can say in the media after the game (thats clearly true even in the current politically correct NHL - players don't swear in interviews and they clearly do in trash talk situations in a game). I think the NHL should stop regulating trash talk during games.

There is a difference between trash talk, and a racial slur. This article makes me wonder what race/ethnicity, if any, the author is. I would hope that the NHL does not condone the use of racial slurs!
My opinion stands regardless of my "race/ethnicity if any" (whatever that means - apparently there are people running around with no race or ethnicity).

Trash talk is saying whatever works to get a player off his game. Talk about his mother, his lack of scoring ability, how bad his team is, his ethnicity, how ugly his hairdo is etc. Whatever might throw him off his game.
Have you ever had a racial slur directed towards yourself?
Yes I have had a racial slur directed toward me. One place it has happened is during a hockey game.

Trash talk is part of the game. If it throws your opponent off his game then it works. Its not the NHL's job to regulate which kinds of trash talk are acceptable and which are not.
And what if the fans near the glass can hear these slurs? Is that still acceptable to you?

This whole article is beyond absurd.
What if a player swears at another player in the game and the fans near the glass hear it?

Regulating trash talk is beyond absurd.
I agree with you CMcMurtry. This article is not worth anyone's attention anymore. Not regulating racial slurs would mean that the NHL condones racial slurs.
There is a huge world of difference between not regulating something and condoning it.
Given this article, you're condoning what Mike Modano's sister did during one of the 2006 Womens Olympic hockey games, where she made fun of a woman on the Canadian olympic team for having lost her father recently.
There's trash talk and there's complete disregard for your fellow man. It's the difference between wanting to throw a good hit, and wanting to injure the other player. There does still exist something called sportsmanship, and the supposed necessity of "machismo" in sports only ensures that we continually pitt mindless morons against each other in gladitorial combat, rather than letting the truly talented players play. This article is lame and unfounded, and ultimately, unintelligent.
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