I understand that any sports media loves any player that gives them quotes that are beyond the usual cliches, even if they’re just horseshit. Call it “Trevor Bauer Syndrome.” So that’s the treatment Robin Lehner is getting right now. You should also keep in mind, which went under the radar but our friend Al Cimiglia had it. Lehner let slip his true colors when he asked the press after the second Colorado hammering, “Which goal should I have stopped?” And he’s not wrong. The defense sucks in front of him and everyone knows that. But Corey Crawford has played behind the same defense for three years (arguably four) and you’ve never heard him bus toss anyone. Tells you a lot.
The fear is of course to minimize Lehner’s previous struggles. I don’t want to undervalue what he’s gone through, but for one he’s comparing his struggles to those of actual abuse, and second he’s on the verge of becoming another Brandon Marshall. “You have to listen to me not matter how much crap I spew because I have mental health issues!” The thing is, I don’t.
Lehner isn’t completely wrong in this conversation with Mark Lazerus. He is right that we do need better education and mental health care for athletes and everyone in sports and really everywhere. And there is a fudged line about how far back we can go and I have often said that going back to what people tweeted or said as children isn’t really fair. Kids have to be allowed to make mistakes, which is why I don’t really get on Artemi Panarin’s or Josh Hader’s case too much.
But these weren’t kids we’re talking about in hockey. These were middle-aged men. These were grown adults, and never under any circumstances is hurling racial slurs or physically abusing players who aren’t really in a position to retaliate or had their reports upstairs about them ignored simply a “mistake.” It’s abuse of power, and I don’t give a flying fuck if “that’s how things were done” in the past. We know better now, and they knew better when they were doing it, and they did it anyway because they didn’t think anyone would bother to call them on it. Someone did, and now they’ll reap the consequences.
Second, Mike Babcock or Bill Peters or now possibly Marc Crawford aren’t having “their entire lives canceled.” They’re not getting to coach in the NHL and make further millions than they already have. There’s plenty of things they can do. Working in the NHL isn’t a right. It’s a privilege. And they’ve lost it. And fuck, Crawford doesn’t have to lose it. He could come out tomorrow, admit he did these things, say he was wrong, say he’s willing to take any and all steps to learn and evolve from it, and specifically apologize to those he abused. An achievement that somehow eluded Bill Peters when he tried it. Most would probably accept that.
This is the same bullshit that all conservative dipshits or whiny pissbabies (big overlapping circle on that one, though sometimes it’s just lazy ass comedians) pull out when someone gets caught being an unrepentant asshole. Where was Akim Aliu’s second chance? Where was the outcry for him? How about John Franzen’s years long anxiety thanks to Babcock? Don’t hear that much. It’s the same for the women Louis CK assaulted, and instead all we hear is how unfair it is that Louis can’t play large theaters anymore (except he is).
No one’s being thrown in jail over this and no one’s acting like he should, but that doesn’t matter to people like Lehner who with all his issues still wants the right to be a jackass, and then probably hide behind his previous issues when he does. Oh, and did you notice how quickly “rappers” escaped his lips when moving beyond hockey? Always interesting when that happens, isn’t it?
Lehner goes on to mention domestic abuse and sexual assaults and he’s absolutely right on that one, but that isn’t so much a second chance as it is a complete ignoring of those things that keep those players in the league. These days there is some sort of suspension, and most would argue it doesn’t go far enough. But at least there’s a hint of consequence. Barely a whisper, but it’s something.
And these are the consequences for these coaches. They don’t get to work right now. Perhaps with the proper contrition they will in the future. They are hardly “canceled.”
Here’s a pretty succinct summation:
It’s actually a pretty fucking simple principle to understand. For example, if your kid stole something, your punishment would be very different if they confessed and paid back what they stole than if they said “You ppl are so sensitive. It’s like you can’t even steal anymore.”
— Todd™ (@Totally_Offside) December 4, 2019
I don’t see Lehner taking up Colin Kaepernick’s cause (big shock there) who didn’t actually do anything wrong and yet lost his job forever. That would seem to be canceled to me, but yet I never hear anyone pissing themselves over “cancel culture” taking up his cause. Wonder why that could be?
Robin Lehner just likes to hear himself talk, and thinks you have to too because of his previous struggles. Again, I don’t. Nor should you.