Go ahead and cheer for slaughtering a group of rude hockey “bros” for their despicable behavior. But you may want to wait for a full-fledged victory lap.
Brendan Leipsic said terrible things and is now a pariah in hockey circles, his NHL career in flames and a pariah in his hometown of Winnipeg, where pitchforks and torches are in full force.
Bobby Hull has said – and done – terrible things and is still widely celebrated in hockey circles, his NHL career has been treated with respect while his name and number are hung on the rafters of Bell MTS Place.
Anyone else see a problem here? Hypocrisy, not to mention irony, is quite thick.
Just hours after Hull was named to TSN’s Winnipeg Jets all-time team as part of an ongoing series on Friday morning, Leipsic received his papers from the Washington Capitals, who made subject to unconditional waivers in order to terminate their contract. The 25-year-old, with 187 NHL games to his credit, is unlikely to play a 188th.
Leipsic’s sins have been well documented as his participation in a series of vile, misogynistic and sometimes racist private group discussions with other local hockey players went public this week. Justice was swift, severe and fairly predictable. Leipsic, a marginal fourth-line player earning at best US $ 700,000 a year, was easy to use.
Do you think a superstar player caught in the same type of scandal would have received the same sentence? No chance. There would be crisis management teams and tearful apologies to the camera and talk about advice and treatment and fix a wrong and use it as a time of learning and learning for young players around the world .
This is not the case with Leipsic, who could be an example without great loss for his team or the league. This does not mean that he is in any way a victim here, or that he should get a pass for his inexcusable behavior. These are all self-inflicted consequences with which he will have to live.
But what about Hull, whose sins have also been well documented? Most hockey fans don’t seem to lick each other. And this is particularly true in Winnipeg, where True North Sports & Entertainment has apparently turned a blind eye to its dark off-ice past while continuing to honor its achievements on ice. This included deploying the welcome mat for the 81-year-old for their annual Hall of Fame game in February.
All of Hull’s transgressions happened long before social media existed. But that doesn’t make them any less real. Yes, it’s a very different world in which a young Leipsic lives in the one in which a young Hull lived. I’ll let you decide if time should, in fact, heal all wounds.
There was the 1998 interview of the legendary Jets star with a Russian newspaper in which he allegedly stated, in the words of the Chicago Tribune, “That the Nazis were not without merit, that the black population of the United States was increasing too quickly and that genetic reproduction was a good idea. “
“Hitler, for example, had good ideas. It just went a little too far, “said Hull to Moscow Times.
When asked if it would be fair to describe him as racist, Hull reportedly replied, “I don’t care. I do not run for any political office. “
Then came an overwhelming 2002 documentary on ESPN, which described her long history of alleged domestic violence, among other issues. His first wife, Joanne, described several incidents where Hull had physically beaten her during their relationship, including once with a steel heel shoe.
Their daughter, Michelle, who is now a lawyer who works with victims of domestic crimes, described ugly scenes growing up at home.
“Many bad memories come from the way my father acted when he was drinking. When he had been drinking, you just knew you didn’t want to be here, ”she said. Hearing what her father had said to the Russian newspaper a few years earlier, she replied, “It’s just like him.”
Hull was also arrested in 1986 when his third wife, Deborah, called the police to report domestic problems. Hull attempted to punch a Chicago officer and was eventually convicted of assault and sentenced to a fine and probation.
Hull, along with former World Hockey Association teammates Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson, were the first to enter the Jets 2.0 Hall of Fame in 2016. Hull missed the induction ceremony, citing “reasons personal ”, but stood in the center of the ice three months ago as Randy Carlyle and Thomas Steen were welcomed into the club.
He absorbed the standing ovation from the sold out crowd at the downtown skating rink.
The sport is replete with examples of athletes who have had a second (or more) chance, including the NHL.
Austin Watson returned after pleading unchallenged for a domestic assault. Patrick Kane was charged with rape, then laundered after investigation. Ryan O ’Reilly was charged and later acquitted of impaired driving after crashing into a Tim Hortons restaurant. Evander Kane has been the subject of numerous charges and prosecutions. Former Jets goalkeeper Ondrej Pavelec has been found guilty of impaired driving in Europe. Former Jets defender Dustin Byfuglien admitted to careless boating (reduced from impaired boating) and was fined and served in the community.
Heck, Ray Lewis went on to win a Super Bowl after being charged with a double murder, and then made an agreement to plead guilty to obstruction of justice and testify against his co-accused. Lewis, now retired, is widely regarded as one of the best NFL linebackers in history.
Unlike all of the above, Leipsic is not accused of breaking any laws, but rather of using a terrible judgment, which included disparaging remarks about some of his former and current teammates. Knowing the mindset of many professional sportswear, you wonder if that was really their biggest mistake in their eyes.
No chance of a takeover in the hockey world is likely to occur in the NHL. The Leipsic case is rightly used as an example of the toxic culture that still exists, and it will be considered toxic for the foreseeable future. It’s easy, easy for a replacement level player whose absence will not be missed outside of his increasingly tight circle.
Meanwhile, praise and cheers continue to come for someone like Hull, who has never apologized for a shameful past for Leipsic. But it was so much better for putting the puck in the net, you see, so that’s apparently all that really matters.
Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fell apart, he put all his courage into becoming a professional writer.
Read the full biography