Friday, December 3, 2010

Hockey coach faces ban for opposing racial slur

Andrew McCullum, a 16-year-old player for the NAPA Auto Parts team in the Peterborough Minor Hockey Association, got into an on-ice confrontation against an opponent from the Austin Trophies in a Nov. 15 game.

After they were sent to the penalty box, the chatter between the two remained heated.

That's when McCullum's opponent chirped a racial slur, calling him "the N-word."

The player was benched for part of the period as punishment but returned to the ice. McCullum's coach, Greg Walsh, was furious to see him return to the game, and at the lack of apology from the Trophies coach and player.

So he pulled his team off the ice, went to the locker room and remained there, claiming that it was meant to "protect" his player from other incidents.

And for that, Walsh has earned an indefinite suspension from the Ontario Minor Hockey Association.

In a bureaucratic world, and sporting association are bureaucracies, an offender is often not treated as harshly as the victim of the offense. So the coach who tries to take the high moral ground and teach is young players about the importance of sportsmanship is slammed for it. I would have done exactly the same thing. In fact, when I coached, I would nail a player to the bench if she dared to verbally abuse an opponent or official. Somethings are more important than the game itself.


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