(TW: Sexual assault)
On Tuesday night on Twitter, the timeline was still in shock over the revelations about the investigation into the Chicago hockey team and allegations of sexual assault.
Naturally, people wondered who knew what and when. Former coach Joel Quenneville was surely a main instigator of the coverup, the report seemed to indicate, and should never coach anywhere again. Yet there he was Wednesday night, on the bench.
Then people started talking about the key players on the team back then.
You saw it over and over, thoughts like:
Jonathan Toews was only 22. Just a kid. It wasn’t his responsibility to do something when adults were in charge.
The idea that Toews bears no responsibility for the coverup of the sexual assault of Kyle Beach, who named himself the John Doe of the horrifying 107-page report released by Jenner & Block on Tuesday, is ridiculous. Kyle Beach was only 20, just a kid, with dreams of being an NHL player, which he surely would have been had fate not cruelly intervened. Beach, a former first-round draft pick fresh off a stunning 52-goal season in juniors, joined the Chicago hockey team for its playoff run as a designated “Black Ace,” a prospect who travels with the team ready to fill in if there’s an injury. Then, the report says, he was victimized by Chicago video coach Brad Aldrich.
Speaking about his struggles, Beach said on TSN:
“I am a survivor … I buried this for 10 years, 11 years, and it’s destroyed me from the inside out and I want everybody to know, in the sports world and in the world, that you’re not alone.”
You could not go 5 minutes during the 2010 playoffs without hearing how mature Jonathan Toews was, what a remarkable leader he was.
Jonathan Toews is not a leader. He’s a follower, a sheep, and a coward. If you’re not responsible for the well-being of your team, you don’t deserve the C on the front of your stupid sweater with the racist logo. Little schoolyard children know the difference between right and wrong, and some of them stand up to bullies and protect vulnerable kids. Not Jonathan Toews.
Did he know? Brent Sopel and Nick Boynton, the teammates who stood up for Beach, knew.
“I’d say pretty much every player said, ‘Holy shit,’ and was shocked by it,’ Sopel told TSN on Tuesday. “We were all in the same dressing room. It was something that was discussed for two or three days.”
Toews claims he didn’t hear about the assault until training camp the next year. During that training camp, according to the report, Beach said multiple players asked him if he “missed his boyfriend, Brad.”
Sopel and Boynton were guys closer to the bottom of the roster than the top. Beach says he witnessed meetings in Coach Quenneville’s office talking about the attack. When the scrubs know and the coach knows, it’s hard to believe the captain didn’t know. Then there’s the matter of four years later when Toews, “only 26, just a kid” was still captain of the team, now with two championship rings, and players at practice reportedly taunted Beach about the incident, in typical disgusting and homophobic fashion.
Then there were his statements to the press. It’s hard to believe this thing can keep getting worse but Hockey Guys never disappoint.
No, Jonathan, they are not good men. I realize you are only 33 (still “just a kid?”) and have lived most of your life in the toxic hypermasculine bubble world of hockey, but grow the fuck up. Not complicit? This is the definition of complicity. When men ignore sexual assault and knowingly let the suspect go on and celebrate with the Stanley Cup, your Cup, Jonathan, the one that meant so much to you, and then go on to abuse more kids, those men are evil. They should be shunned, shamed and punished.
You can’t make this stuff up, folks.
It’s hard to tell if Toews and Kane were more offensive than the fact that Quenneville was still coaching the Florida Panthers last night as he awaits his meeting with the NHL. But after the NHL’s paltry $2 million fine of the Chicago hockey team, we shouldn’t expect much. It’s not just the team management, coaches and players, it’s the whole NHL, and the NHLPA, headed by Donald Fehr. Because the NHL is made up of “Hockey Guys,” and the commissioner, Gary Bettman (who has seemingly always hated hockey) is somehow the biggest Hockey Guy. And what do Hockey Guys do? They lie, they cover shit up, and they sweep it under the rug, and sometimes even blackball victims for good measure. Just like the Chicago team and the NHL tried to do with the racial violence and harassment of Akim Aliu.
Just as they did to Kyle Beach, the first-round draft pick and 52-goal scorer who spent five years in the AHL without getting into an NHL game. He had to go overseas to pursue his dream in Austria. Meanwhile, Quenneville signed a $50 million contract with Florida. Toews has made about $60 million since 2010.
Burn this whole goddamn league to the ground.