Morgan Rielly is a young defenseman for the Toronto Maple Leafs who said the above. Hockey journalists were quick to excuse the comment.
Which…of course Morgan Rielly is a young player and of course young players are more prone to saying stupid things and of course the problem is less that Morgan Rielly is sexist and more that a sexist culture enables Morgan Rielly’s behavior.
Of course, of course, of course.
The only way we could have gotten more simplistic and less necessary analysis from a bunch of journalists who regard themselves as smart people would have been if they had said “Morgan Rielly is a human who said words.”
No, Morgan Rielly’s comments aren’t that bad compared to other things that have been said , but what magnifies them and turns them into something more harmful is that the self-appointed arbiters of hockey mores above just want to ignore the comments until they go away and think everyone else should too.
The reason the blowback has been so loud, the reason there’s so much “outrage” (thanks Gargoyle) is because for years no one has fucking listened, and as we can glean from the sentiments above, most of the people in power still aren’t fucking listening.
Yes, one random asshole deciding that being a woman is synonymous with “weak” or “crazy” (not sure which Rielly was going for) is exactly that, one random asshole. But a cursory check of most hockey message boards and most blog comment sections, and the mouths of Mike Modano, Rocco Grimmaldi (holy crap that the author is Wyshynski is ironic. So telling women to cover up is “puritanical nonsense,” but using them as a synonym for weak or crazy isn’t worthy of outrage?), Mike Milbury, and others reveals that we have thousands upon thousands of random assholes on our hands. That’s not a series of isolated incidents, it’s a toxic culture, and it’s one that Wyshynski, Siegel, LeBrun, Mirtle, and many others have stated that they don’t want to address because the way you do that is comment by comment, and we can’t even get through one.
Before someone like Wyshynski wants to label those fighting on behalf of LGBT, women, and People of Color “outrage hobbyists” and before Pierre LeBrun wants to label casual sexism as “not a problem” they should dig deep into the volumes upon volumes of harassment women hockey (and other marginalized) fans get on a daily basis. Because it’s a huge fucking problem.
It’s a huge fucking problem in a league that doesn’t want to let Josh Ho-Sang be Josh Ho-Sang or Evander Kane be Evander Kane but is pretty content letting the other Kane be himself as long as he doesn’t commit any felonies. It’s a huge fucking problem in a league that boasts of diversity but didn’t have a European official until 2009 or a European General Manager until 2013. The NHL can’t even handle diversity in types of white guys. It’s a huge fucking problem in a league that has a grand total of two female owners, if you count Susan Samueli and Kim Pegula. (Spoiler: most places don’t.)
It’s a huge fucking problem when people like Harrison Mooney, Steve Lepore, and Adrian Dater feel comfortable harassing women via Twitter. It’s a huge fucking problem when named journos and bloggers like Thomas Drance, Ian McLaren, Steve Dangle, and Andrew Berkshire don’t want to address the underlying issues behind the actions of Mooney, Lepore, and/or Dater because they know them personally, because they’re friends, or because it would damage their #brand. It’s a huge fucking problem when Travis Hughes of SBN removes an editor without warning for pointing out the misogyny in one of SBN’s partners.
And the most disturbing part is these are all people that have admitted that hockey culture isn’t terribly friendly to women.
WELL WHEN THE FUCK ARE YOU GOING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT?
How the fuck can you claim to be an ally of women (Greg) when you constantly talk over them and you’re the lead editor of a site with a toxic comments section?
How the fuck can you tweet about the women’s Beanpot Tournament (Pierre) then turn around and excuse Rielly’s comment?
And yes I’m aware that Rielly “apologized,” but in these cases the only reason anyone ever apologizes is to assuage their own guilt and cut down on the blowback. If there isn’t a concerted effort to understand what was done wrong and to fix the problem, apologizing doesn’t mean shit.
And telling people you’re supportive of women when you talk over them and won’t address your cesspool of a comments section doesn’t mean shit.
And writing an article on the toxicity of hockey culture with the majority of the contributors being majority class male voices doesn’t mean shit.
And taking a photo of the women’s Beanpot doesn’t mean shit if you’re going to come back and call sexist comments “not a problem” the following week.
None of it means shit because it’s all empty platitudes by people who are too cowardly or too lazy to take a firm stand against a toxic culture.
Continue to cater to the worst of your readership Greg. Great fucking job.