Thursday, April 05, 2007

Nuisance Lawsuit Won't Go Away

Shane Doan of the Phoenix Coyotes is in a stupid legal fight with Canadian Member of Parliament Denis Coderre (Liberal from Bourassa - a northern Montreal riding). Here is the story. It goes back to a game in 2005 when Phoenix played at Montreal. Coderre wrote a letter to Hockey Canada complaining about Doan's selection to the 2006 Canadian Olympic Team because Coderre claimed that Doan made a racial slur in that game in Montreal. Why Coderre would think his opinion should matter when it comes to picking Olympic hockey teams and why this was the issue that Coderre took up and not for example Todd Bertuzzi are questions I cannot begin to answer. Anyway, Doan was upset and instead of letting this story go away, Doan sued Coderre for these "false and defamatory" remarks. Coderre has since filed a $45,000 countersuit against Doan.

The post-game report submitted to the league by linesman Michel Cormier has been admitted as evidence. It claims that in the second period Cormier complained to the Phoenix bench about "racial" comments like "You fucking French" from Ladoslav Nagy (who has since been traded to Dallas). At the end of the game, Doan skated by Cormier and said "Fucking French did a good job". Doan received a 10 minute misconduct penalty for the remark.

This is all really stupid and it happened well over a year ago. We would all be better off if these people would just grow up and stop acting like babies about it. I have no idea why Denis Coderre is involved in this petty squabble in the first place.

My politically incorrect opinion is that trash talk is OK in hockey games be it "racial slurs" or otherwise. If it generates a misconduct penalty that is fine, but it should not generate lawsuits over a year after the fact. It has always been an effective hockey strategy to get your opponent to want to kill you because if that is the first thing on his mind, then beating you in the hockey game is not the first thing on his mind. Players will say and do a lot of things to get into the heads of their opponents.

That isn't exactly what happened in this case. The official was the one to whom the remarks were made. It's not exactly a smart thing to say derogatory things to the official in the game, but it shouldn't (literally) have a federal case made out of it.

In this case there wasn't even a racial slur. It is a point of fact that Cormier is French (and that French is not a race). It is not the nicest way to point it out by saying "fucking French". From the context, it looks like Doan made an off-color joke. Something like that should in no way affect his position on an Olympic team. No politician should waste his time grandstanding over such an issue. This is political correctness gone too far.

Here is the Globe and Mail article on this story, found thanks to James Mirtle.

Hey, which is more stupid, nuisance lawsuits that won't go away, or the ice girl sour grapes non-issue over nothing. Pretty equally moronic. Stupid to bring either up. More stupid to debate either one. A waste of time even tapping the keyboard..........
This is one of the most ridiculous Canadian news stories I have heard for some time. This is not a matter for parliament or political involvement. If the comment was made, it was not really such a bad thing to say - I hear worse everyday and if it wasn't said it amounts to a witch hunt. Either way, Doan's reputation and character suffer. He should be celebrated for his athletic abilities and any discipline for his hockey activities should occur within the game as had happened. The issue should be over and done with.
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