In Today's The Globe and Mail, former Canadiens goaltender and current Canadian politician, Ken Dryden, wrote one of the more open and honest essays on sexual abuse you'll read.
Dryden details his connection to the sexual abuse case currently playing out in Winnepeg courtrooms, including Theo Fleury's chilling victim impact statement this past Wednesday.
Dryden became president of the Maple Leafs in June of 1997. By the start of the next season, Martin Kruze—the first man to allege sexual abuse at the hands of Maple Leaf Gardens employees—was dead. Police informed Dryden that he had jumped off a bridge.
Dryden recounts a story about a meeting with
Fleury what is likely an anonymous victim following an event they were both attending approximately a year after Martin Kruze's death. He told him that he used to hang out around the Gardens as a kid, hoping to meet players. A Gardens employee came to know that he wanted to meet Dryden and exploited it; he told the victim he would introduce him when Dryden and the Canadiens came to town. That was how the abuse began. As Dryden puts it, "I was the bait."
Dryden ruminates on Kruze and Fleury and wonders why these things continue to happen. As a person uniquely involved with such a high profile case, he comes to a refreshingly lucid and transparent conclusion—one which other individuals and entities similarly embroiled may want to consider.
We get things so wrong to protect reputations, of course – our own and those we care about: companies, organizations, teams, schools, churches, other people. It's to save ourselves from the horrendous implications we can imagine – legal liability, damages, loss of jobs, public humiliation – and ones far worse we can't. It's to save ourselves from life that, in the fullest sense, would truly change. We get things wrong because we want desperately that what may be true not be true.
It's not an earth shattering notion—we all know it—but it's not often someone so near the controversy puts it so clearly and definitively.
The tragedy of doing nothing: Ken Dryden on how sexual predators corrupt hockey [Globe and Mail]