Oops, they did it again.
In what’s becoming an annual tradition, Auston Matthews is once again a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy, which is awarded to the “player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”
As I wrote last year:
In the fall, Matthews was charged with disorderly conduct for harassing a female security guard in his Scottsdale, Ariz;, condo complex. The incident, which happened last May, started when Matthews tried to enter the security guard’s locked car. Matthews then dropped his pants (underwear still on) and squeezed his cheeks. The security guard, a Black woman who suffers from extreme PTSD due to serving in the military in Iraq, filed a police report, and Matthews reportedly said it would be funny to see how she reacted. Security footage shows Matthews walking with his pants down around his ankles. Charges were later dismissed.
The NHL and the (overwhelmingly male) Professional Hockey Writers Association took some heat for the nomination last year, including from ex-sportswriter Melissa Geschwind, who called out several of the members last year.
Apparently the statute of limitations on being a creep ran out, because surely some of those same members who said they would reflect on the issue voted for Matthews again.
The even worse part is that last year’s winner, Nathan MacKinnon, isn’t even a finalist this year, despite having another fantastic season (Jaccob Slavin and Jared Spurgeon are the other finalists). Is it merely because he had 27 more penalty minutes this season? Don’t laugh, that’s really the level at which hockey awards writers are thinking; those 27 PIM are a disqualifying factor, while being an unapologetic harasser is not.
At least this year, we don’t have PHWA members telling us we shouldn’t care about the awards the PHWA votes on (yet). So that’s progress.