Vulgar Opinions: We (Men) Need to Talk About Sexist Hockey Culture, And Keep Talking About It
Apologies for stealing the title, but fuck if it isn’t a good one, and if directness isn’t the best policy. It’s relevant and recent that Harrison Mooney was fired from Yahoo’s Puck Daddy blog for making unwanted advances towards women both in person, and on Twitter. The ‘in person’ part of that, particularly when Mooney was told ‘no’ twice, is sexual assault, regardless of what fellow writer Thomas Drance wants to tell you.
Guys…we need to be better.
And yes, I get that not all of us are Harrison Mooney but that’s not the point. The point is that when one of our own does something like this we need to quit bitching about how not every guy is a creepy harasser and start telling the creepy harassers to stop being creepy harassers. And that if they’re going to continue to be creepy harassers, then we need to tell them they’re not welcome in our circles.
We need to stop thinking about how guilty and how complicit we are and start simply making things better for women. This isn’t about us. Let’s stop trying to make everything about us because pretty much every fucking thing in sports has been about us to this point. Let’s make this about the women we so love to watch hockey with. Better, let’s make this about making hockey better for them.
I can totally see why women wouldn’t want to have anything to do with sports. The most common synonym for “shitty” in sports, the most common way to let a player know how much they suck, is to call them a woman. Right Cindy Crosby? Who the fuck wants to watch something where who you are as a person is interchangeable with “bad” and undesirable to the point of ridicule?
Surely we can do better than this.
And the truth of it is, hockey needs women. It needs women because women will make the sport better for everyone. The larger pool you have to draw talent from, the better off you are overall. This is why New York City produces more athletes than Helena, Montana. The inclusion of women will make our writers better, our broadcasters better, hell there will come a day when they will make our coaches better. They won’t all be sterling, but they will raise our collective intelligence because when you’re looking for smart hockey people you’re no longer disqualifying half the population.
Sure, “get more women in hockey” sounds like special rights for women, but do you know what’s actually special rights? Ninety percent of those involved to this point having been men. Special rights is not being poo-pooed as a broadcaster because “male voices better fill” the role. And if that sounds all too rare, just remember that “doesn’t feel right” and “doesn’t fit the culture” are shades of the same thing. Special rights is not being told (or shown) your only way of contributing is as eye candy.
Surely we can do better than this.
We men have always benefited from the antiquated notion that only men can do sports things and in spite of Title IX, we’re still benefiting. And because we make up such a vast majority of the sports landscape, it is terrifyingly easy to keep reaping the advantages we’ve acquired by being exclusionary dicks. That needs to stop.
And make no mistake, the women are, and should be the superstars of the fight for better representation in sports. Their voices should rise over ours because they have the first hand experiences off of which to build. But we can, and I’d argue we have a responsibility, to catalyze equality by bulldozing the garbage to create safe spaces for women, and by holding our own accountable.
Let’s do better than this.
And to add to the Women’s Hockey Round Up, the ECAC, which contains the Defending National Champions and my Alma Mater, the Clarkson University Golden Knights, has also released its schedule.