Thursday, May 03, 2007

Hockey's Big Fat Lie

Surely, in Canada, we haven't cured our healthcare waiting lists, eradicated poverty, successfully erased illiteracy by 100 percent, wiped out all of our crime statistics, brought in thousands of needed doctors, and single-handedly wiped out and cured terrorism and warfare in Afghanistan. You'd think there might be more pressing issues to waste dollars and time on than forcing Hockey Canada boss Bob Nicholson to appear in front of a Canadian Language Committee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, like some 12-year-old prankster being sent to the principal's office for shooting spitballs at the ceiling in the boys' bathroom through the cartridge of a Bic pen. But then again, maybe the Members of Parliament are trying to divert attention from the real issues -- and particularly the current accusations of prisoner abuse in Afghanistan, much like our U.S. politicians try to skirt real issues by focusing on gay marriage.

Our new Canadian hero is Bob Nicholson. He grudgingly walked down the corridor to face his accusers, on trial for being human. He was there to defend Team Canada's decision to name Phoenix Coyotes' RW Shane Doan their captain for the 2007 World Men's Championship in Russia. Impassioned, near tears, you could tell he was not going to fold and cave. Nicholson gave these so called leaders a tongue lashing.

"You talk to everyone, I mean EVERYONE, who put on a jersey and played with Shane Doan." "They're not supposed to be playing for the name on the back of the jersey. They play for the name on the front of the jersey, and some of them are now questioning why."

Shane Doan is accused of verbalizing a racial slur against French people some 18 months ago, to which he was cleared by the NHL after an investigation. (And yes, it was a politician that brought the issue forward then.) Yesterday, Doan said it was the people who don't know him who are insisting he did it, and the ones that know him are the ones defending him. The political outrage began when some of them took issue to Doan being named the captain.

NDP "leader" Jack Layton later left Doan a voice mail wishing him well but didn't outright apologize. Doan's response was he appreciated the call because they're (politicians) so busy. But sadly, the issue isn't confined to just one political party. Liberals and Conservatives have also weighed in.

Former NHL goalie great Ken Dryden, now a Liberal MP himself, asked what right the government had to decide who is a good captain or not for Team Canada. But that was as far as his support would allow himself to go. He defended his political colleagues' right to their opinion.

Ironically, a similar controvery was put to rest Wednesday when clothing designer Tommy Hilfiger was asked to appear on Oprah, so they could both once and for all dispel the (what Oprah called) big fat lie that Hilfiger appeared on Oprah years ago and said he didn't make his clothes for black people to wear. The fodder had since included Asians and Jews in the mix. Of course, Hilfiger had never appeared on Oprah until Wednesday and never said anything like that to anyone, let alone on a show he had never appeared on. Contrary to how he had been portrayed, he has single-handedly helped raise over $75 million for a Martin Luther King memorial.

So the big fat lie that seems to be permeating Shane Doan's perfect persona is just that. Nicholson alluded that maybe someone did say it, but he is dead sure it wasn't Doan.

But anyone who has ever encountered Shane Doan in the flesh is shaking their head in disbelief. If there was ever a man you'd want to marry your daughter...


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