Saturday, June 18, 2011
Vancouver Riots - National Hockey League Management Accountable?
Professor Stackhouse from Regent College has written a remarkable response to the Vancouver Riots. He's an avid hockey player himself. He says the Canucks Bruins playoffs but especially the final game was the worst refereed hockey he has seen. The referees are the police in hockey. They represent the law. I personally was appalled at all the slashing to the backs of legs going on in the game. When I last played hockey a quarter century ago this was instant penalty and poor sportsmanship. Just because the other guy skated faster or had better stick work didn't justify hitting the vulnerable legs with your stick. Indeed back in my youth, that glorious cowboy era, any use of a weapon in any fight was evidence of cowardice. The riots showed alot of gangs on one violence which is the sign of cowardice and the 'ends justify the means' ethics.
However Professor Stackhouse argues very finely indeed that the Canucks game gave the message that bullying would be rewarded, that cowardice was okay, that poor sportsmanship would be rewarded and that lawlessness (no refereeing) could be expected. Indeed, Professor Stackhouse, very courageously is going where everyone so far has desperately tried to stay away from.
"J'ACCUSE". His finely written article points the finger directly at the Canucks management and the Bruins Management and the National Hockey League itself, He himself is too refined a gentleman to follow through with the kill. I lack his grace. I expect defence lawyers for the rich kids caught up in the riots will think like I do, too.
He's blaming the National Hockey League and the referees of the final game. We all know that television ratings go up with violence. We know that the American media machine loves hockey with blood. The more bodies carried off on stretchers the more ratings.
So who pulled the referees? Shouldn't the person who specifically told the hockey police not to do their job share some accountability with a kid who broke a window?
The National Hockey League, and Professional Sports, billion dollar plus businesses and industries, might need a financial incentive to deliver hockey when they say they're providing a hockey game (not a mixed martial arts, he who maims most wins) game. Whose call was it to drop the hockey police in the final games and lets bedlam reign? No surprise that chaos and riot follow on the streets of Vancouver. It's not because the Canucks lost. It's because the game was a powerful message celebrating violence and lawlessness. No surprise the Vancouver Police were blindsided. Did anyone from the National Hockey League tell the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Police that they would not be showing a 'hockey game' but rather a 'mixed martial arts' debacle? Were families who brought small children to the city to watch a game forewarned that it would be a 'violent' 'bloody' sports event and not a hockey game. I played hockey for a dozen years and never was injured. I wasn't even good at the game. We're learning enough about the head injuries in sports and cost to the health care system. We have had individual players like the Canucks, Butollocci prosecuted, but who pulled the Referees?
The Vancouver Police said they were unprepared for the riot. They'd not seen the media orchestrating the riot by decreasing game police and increasing celebration of violence. No one outside the National Hockey League, the producers and coaches could anticipate that the final game of the Stanley Cup series would be the 'worst refereed game' imaginable. Both teams without policing and the increasing encouragement of violence and unsportsmanship devolved into a vicious brute riot rather than national hockey. The 'riot on the streets of Vancouver' therefore mirrored the 'riot on the rink"
The Canucks and the Canucks fans have distanced themselves from the 'hooligans' and argued the 'hooligans' weren't hockey fans. But Research clearly shows that if you show brain damaged people violence and celebrate that violence then they will do violence themselves. Normal people will separate reality from fiction but not drug and alcohol addled young men whose brains don't complete formation until mid twenties.
I suspect a smart criminal lawyer will make such a plea on behalf of the rich kids while the poor kids without the 'Dream Team' lawyers will go to jail. That's the norm in our Social Darwin society with the Big Ape being celebrated at the cost of the poor little ape.
But if that is the case then the NHL should be on trial too. I propose that the courts and police investigate whether the lack of refireeing in the game especially the last. There was sufficient motive (increased revenue from ratings ) but was this 'premeditated' and who was culpable.
It rots my gotch to pay more taxes whether HST or otherwise. So as a taxplayer I don't like being involved in Big Sports damage and clean up when I stayed home and would really have preferered to watched better hockey and less wrestling and punching. I certainly never want to watch riots over sports when less priviledged people riot ove tyrrany, mass murder and rape of women and children. The riots made great TV and a boodle of money for media but made Canadians collectively and Vancouverites especially look stupid and silly. The Canucks fans and the Vancouver people presently turning over the prime instigators of the riot to the police are going along way to mitigate the damage. But wouldn't an investigation of senior management by an outside body with real powers be appropriate. Who polices the National Hockey League. We learned that the International Soccer Association is corrupt to the core. Is this true of Hockey. Did someone in high placesactually hope for a riot just like the professional criminals in low places certainly did?
If Prime Minister Harper or the Conservative Government were anyway involved in hockey then I guarantee there would be a hue and cry for management to step down, get jailed or lined up against the wall and be shot. That's the attitude Canadians take when something goes wrong in politics. But this is 'Big Money' and the Canucks management to date has correctly pointed the finger at the obvious criminals. The guys wearing black ski masks carrying stereos under their arms were hard to miss but what about the little weazel Armani suited accountant and marketting manager who insisted the referees should be blinded?
Did this riot occur in Canada and not Boston because in the US the Americans who prosecuted the heads of Enron wouldn't think twice about investigating the National Hockey League if downtown Boston got torched? While the referees appeared to be smoking BC Bud in Boston and Vancouver they looked even more wasted in the final game? Did anyone think to pee test the referees? The players certainly get that. Or was the decision higher?
I do like Premier Christy Clark saying "We're going to find you and 'we'll going to prosecute you."
Like everyone I also remember the legal importance of "deep pockets". The cowardly despicable "blue collar criminals who burnt police cars" would have just as soon started a riot at a ladies spelling B if they could. They deserve to be punished but I doubt such bottom feeding low life can afford to pay for the future loss of business from tourism that Vancouver can now anticipate.
But an organization that can pay Luongo twelve million dollars has 'deep pockets'.
I believe the police and city of Vancouver had reasonable expectation that if a "hockey game' was being broadcast that a "hockey game' not a 'brawl' should be shown to the viewing public. I know that if I hold a dance and it spills over to damaging of property that I as the one who was the organizer of the event "share" responsibility for the damage. It strikes me that the National Hockey League and the Canucks and Bruins have a strong incentive to encourage people to say these were not 'Canuck fans'. This was a National Hockey League event though. I know the criminals didn't like hockey but whoever pulled the referees probably doesn't either.
Overt and subliminal messages instigating riot and all that followed are the partly the responsibility of the 'league' and media and not just the viewers.
So, if Professor Stackhouse is right about the lack of refereeing, considerations of 'deep pockets' might be reasonably expected to come into play. Should the individual refirees be tried for their failure to carry white canes on the ice? Should the referee association be held accountable. No individual referee, to my mind, stood out as particularly ignorant of the rules of the game of hockey. It did strike me they were all 'in on it' together. If there was a 'hooligan' conspiracy there was equally a 'referee conspiracy". If they had carried white canes I would not have been so angered personally to see such constant 'slashing' and tripping, overt attempts to 'maim and injure', go unnoticed. The game appeared to be a seige event with the question being whose ligaments would be least damaged by the end of the series.
Throw the book at the 'blue collar' criminals for sure, but this was a National Hockey League sports event and surely if there are 'white collar' criminals they deserve to face justice as well.
Shouldn't an independent body with powers to prosecute and fine investigate the National Hockey League? When a riot occurs in a national city wouldn't that warrant a parliamentary committee investigation more than the countless ones called against Harper and the military and all the other players in Canadian life. Shouldn't a Provincial and National Government committee with powers to recommend prosecution and fining be instigated to investigate the National Hockey League if it was found that the policing of the game was meddled with "for profit" (or ratings?) At least in the recent banking scandals some senior management were arrested and no one tried to insist that the problems were only with the 'bank tellers' and the 'customers'. Maybe the National Hockey League has lost respect for the "sport' of hockey and something should seriously be done to address just what 'they' did wrong?
Premier Christy Clark did say "We will find you and we will prosecute you."
Go Christy Clark Go!