Ryan Getzlaf, hockey player earning $9.25 million a year, used an offensive word in a Stanley Cup third round game, he pretty much screamed the word cocksucker at an opposing player. Not once apparently, but more than once, directed at the referee, allegedly.

This is the moment, plus a typical response to that post:

https://twitter.com/sharonjackson/status/866046012036571136

There was an outcry from both sides; *that was a bad word, and shouldn't have been used in any circumstance*, was one argument. *It's a game, they're men, stop being pansies about this* was fifty percent of the replies.

I should give you some background here. Getzlaf is captain of the Anaheim Ducks, who are playing the Nashville Predators, and kind of losing. The winners of this set of games go through to the finals of *the* cup every hockey player dreams of winning - the Stanley Cup. Tension is high, anger is high, and hockey is a game that is fierce, and violent at times. There is a lot of cursing, and pushing, and hitting, and there is also a lot of mistakes made on ice, calls that were missed, calls made on things that shouldn’t even be calls. Also it is fast. Really fast. It's a mass of movement and action and speed.

To me, Getzlaf seemed like a hard working physical player who appeared in interviews to have a cool sense of humor and seemed to embody what being a captain was all about. I’m not rooting for their team, but I liked to watch him on the ice. I’ve watched him, and many others on every single NHL team curse. A fuck here, a bastard there, a c**t there, using these words as punctuation. There are also one hell of a lot of passive aggressive comments made to the linesman and ref, and there are copious uses of the word shit, fuck, asshole etc.

Andrew Shaw, another player used the word *fag*, was fined and suspended.

Getzlaf used the word *cocksucker* and was fined £10,000 (The maximum they could be apparently - I bet he misses that in his $9.25 million annual salary). The NHL didn't suspend him, because... hell knows, probably because he's the captain, and this is the finals, blah blah.

Mixed message there, and one that supports my ongoing theory.

Both of these words along with my own personal hated word c**t (I can’t even type it LOL) implies that the skater being shouted at is *less than a man should be*. They are *Gay* (fag, cocksucker) or they are women (c**t).

I’ve seen the incident. You can read more here: http://www.outsports.com/2017/5/20/15670274/ryan-getzlaf-gay-slur-fine

Afterwards Getzlaf had this to say:

"Obviously a situation like that where I'm on the bench by myself, frustration set in," Getzlaf said after the Ducks lost 3-1 in Game 5 at Honda Center on Saturday. "There was obviously some words said, not necessarily directed at anyone in particular, it was just kind of a comment. … I've got to be a little bit more responsible … the words I choose."

The league, in fining him, had this to say:

"Getzlaf's comment in Thursday's game, particularly as directed to another individual on the ice, was inappropriately demeaning and disrespectful, and crossed the line into behavior that we deem unacceptable," NHL senior executive vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell said in a statement. "The type of language chosen and utilized in this instance will not be tolerated in the National Hockey League."

I’m not sure what Getzlaf is meaning when he says this though:

"That's my responsibility … is to understand there's eyes and ears on us all the time. Fortunately enough, nobody heard it. If you can read lips, it's a little bit harder and I apologize for that. That's the thing you won't hear from me again. I hope I didn't offend anybody outside the circle that we trust."

I actually think this is a non-apology and he is saying, "fuck, i thought i'd got away with it, but i was spotted, asshole lip readers", probably.

Endemic in the NHL, and in fact all professional male sports is this whole concept that your sexuality impacts you as a player.

So for me, it wasn’t the use of the slur I wanted to debate, it was the intent behind it.

Heat of the moment, I know. It’s a rough intense sport, I know. Ryan didn’t mean it the way it was said, not so sure. Of course he wanted to use something that would hurt someone as much as he could.

But the worst thing for me is that behind all the You Can Play initiatives, encouraging equality in the sport for all gender, sexual identities, and ability, there will always be that place of final retreat – demeaning a player by likening them to a group that is deemed lesser. Seems to me the NHL is paying lip service to orientation and gender rights.

Next time Getzlaf, stick to *asshole*… we all have those.


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