Here is a quick look at recent happenings of sociological import within the sport of hockey:
Hockey’s sociology department is really having a hell of a year. There was the banana thrown at Wayne Simmonds of the Philadelphia Flyers, a black player, during a pre-season game in London. Ont.; there was Simmonds caught on camera calling Sean Avery of the New York Rangers a “faggot” a couple days later. If you wanted to go further, there is the visor debate, which boils down to a sort of libertarian approach to personal safety, much as, say, seatbelts did. We all know how that one turned out.
And then Sunday, there was Raffi Torres and Paul Bissonnette. Bissonnette, the Phoenix Coyotes forward who has become a Twitter celebrity as @BizNasty2point0, who has over 150,000 followers, put a picture of his Coyotes teammate and his wife in their Halloween costumes as Jay-Z and Beyoncé. They had coloured their skin to appear black…
Hockey is a closed society, in a lot of ways. Diversity exists – Russians, Finns, Swedes, Czechs, etc. – but racially, it remains the least diverse major sports league, unless you get into NASCAR, tennis, or golf. That’s demographics as much as anything, and it is slowly changing. Bissonnette’s mother is half-black, but Canada has no notable tradition of blackface, and it is not exactly taught in our schools. For many Canadians, how would we know?…
Some jokes never get funny. Here’s one more chance to learn.
It sounds like some hockey players could benefit from a social education. Also, they might want to discuss what exactly they do in public or voluntarily post online.
I wonder how much all of the major sports do this kind of training. I know some have increased training for rookies and young players in recent years but how much involves social issues such as race, social class, and gender?