DeSantis, The NHL, And The Duty To Confront (Link Fixed!)

When corporations, organizations, institutions or professions show that they don’t have functioning ethics alarms, it is incumbent upon those of us who do to sound those alarms for them. Loudly. Forcefully. In a timely fashion. That is the only way to preserve and strengthen an ethical culture.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis just demonstrated how this is done. Let’s pay attention, shall we?

The National Hockey League, like all of the professional sports keen to pander to what it sees as predominant social trends if it will mean better media coverage, announced that it will hold a job fair called  “Pathway to Hockey Summit” on February 2 during its 2023 All Star Game festivities in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The idea was to cater to and seeks to attract “diverse job seekers who are pursuing careers in hockey.” Naturally, the whitest of all sports decided that to virtue-signal properly and suck up to the Diversity Equity Inclusion Nazis, that meant that white men need not apply, well, except veterans. They were okay.

“Participants must be 18 years of age or older, based in the U.S., and identify as female, Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, Indigenous, LGBTQIA+, and/or a person with a disability. Veterans are also welcome and encouraged to attend,” the published event description stated.

Ah, but it was a Florida event, and Florida is governed by a mean, tough, white guy who insists that anyone under his watch must follow the Constitution. That’s Governor Ron DeSantis, whom the mainstream media is recently painting as “worse than Trump.” The governor’s press secretary released a public statement saying,

“Discrimination of any sort is not welcome in the state of Florida, and we do not abide by the woke notion that discrimination should be overlooked if applied in a politically popular manner or against a politically unpopular demographic. We are fighting all discrimination in our schools and our workplaces, and we will fight it in publicly accessible places of meeting or activity….[the NHL must] “immediately remove and denounce the discriminatory prohibitions it has imposed on attendance to the 2023 ‘Pathway to Hockey’ summit.”

And, of course, the limitations on the event were discrimination, though the kind that progressive revolutionaries, Marxists and Democrats believe is good discrimination—you know, like Harvard’s discrimination against white and Asian-American college applicants. Good, I tell you! But like most pandering businesses, organizations, institutions and professions, the National Hockey League can only move the metaphorical cultural needle in unethical directions if nobody pays attention and the majority of Americans shrug and decide, “Ah, so what? We have bigger problems.” At least, these blights on society and deniers of core American values are only inclined to take the risk if they are sure they can get away with it without paying a substantial price.

And thus it was that, faced with someone who was clearly not about to ignore their unethical conduct or let them get away with it, the National Hockey League immediately backed down. They didn’t even try to defend their discriminatory event. They were only sucking up to bigots for cash and compliments because they thought it would be easy. It’s not as if they thought it was right: the cynical, self-serving, none-too bright people who run the NHL, like the cynical, self-serving none-too bright people who run most things, unfortunately, don’t care about what is right and usually can’t figure out what that is without some forceful guidance anyway.

In a laughably dishonest statement,  the NHL has announced that the “original wording of the LinkedIn post associated with the event was not accurate.” “The Pathway to Hockey Summit is an informational and networking event designed to encourage all individuals to consider a career in our game – and, in particular, alert those who might not be familiar with hockey to the opportunities it offers,”  the NHL now says, after  deleting the original event posting last night. The job fair is open to anyone ages 18 and older.

That’s what they always intended, they say. If you believe that, did you know that hockey pucks taste like licorice?

The United States is in the dangerous cultural state it is now in because the public ignored ethics rot and powerful influences against our nation’s foundational principles in education, politics, journalism, academia, entertainment, and literature while those influences took hold over many decades. We left it to others to deal with, and the others we trusted were weak, apathetic and corrupt themselves. It is a principle of ethics that each of us has a duty to confront and oppose unethical actors when we can. It may be too late, and we may have waited too long.

We’ll never know unless we try, however.

13 thoughts on “DeSantis, The NHL, And The Duty To Confront (Link Fixed!)

  1. The “immediately backed down” link is broken.

    Also, from a strictly legal perspective, what if they went through with the original, discriminatory plan? Would they actually be breaking any laws by having a one-time, exclusive event?

  2. When corporations, organizations, institutions or professions show that they lack ethics alarms, it is incumbent upon those of us who do to sound those alarms for them…

    Huh? How on earth can “those of us who do [lack ethics alarms] … sound those alarms for them”? It’s almost precisely a contradiction in terms. There appears to be a missing and material “not”.

    The United States is in the dangerous cultural state it is now in because the public ignored ethics rot and powerful influences against our nation’s foundational principles in education, politics, journalism, academia, entertainment, and literature while those influences took hold over many decades. We left it to others to deal with, and the others we trusted were weak, apathetic and corrupt themselves. It is a principle of ethics that each of us has a duty to confront and oppose unethical actors when we can. It may be too late, and we may have waited too long.

    What makes you think that anything inclusive enough to qualify as “we” had any say in the matter? This is down to those structural defects and incentives I commented on in another post.

    We’ll never know unless we try, however.

    It has been tried, on a number of occasions. Each time the actual powers that be elected a new people, so the survivor bias of it all suppressed any learning. That means that even if you do try, you won’t be there to be counted afterwards. Like your predecessors, you may be massacred, exiled, repressed to the point that you never pass the torch, or you may just fade away, but you won’t be there to be counted afterwards.

    • 1. UGH. Anatomy of a typo: I checked. The original draft said “do not have functioning ethics alarms.” But when I did a final proof-read, I thought, “Hey, “Lack” is shorter and means the same thing!” and changed it without picking up on the fact that it rendered the rest of the sentence incoherent. Fixed.

      2. “We” would be “those who care about ethics, professionalism, culture and values.” Most people do; most people also don’t think about them very often, hence the advantage goes to the barbarians and the fanatics.

      3. Except those election aren’t based on ethical values, and because of the corruption of journalism, they aren’t based on accurate assessments of reality either, but rather carefully programmed bias.

      • 1. UGH. Anatomy of a typo: I checked. The original draft said “do not have functioning ethics alarms.” But when I did a final proof-read, I thought, “Hey, “Lack” is shorter and means the same thing!” and changed it without picking up on the fact that it rendered the rest of the sentence incoherent. Fixed.

        No, not fixed as I read it. You still appear to have the auxiliary verb “do” referring to the verb “lack” in the same context.

        3. Except those election aren’t based on ethical values, and because of the corruption of journalism, they aren’t based on accurate assessments of reality either, but rather carefully programmed bias.

        You do this a lot. It’s a blend of “No True Scotsman” and attempting to change the subject.

        The “No True Scotsman” part is where you define the “real” thing as something different from what is actually going on, a reality that we should face up to even if we don’t like it. But that is not a defence, it’s an admission; “qui s’excuse s’accuse”, and that.

        The changing the subject part is like a story about a British reporter interviewing a French philosopher. The British asked a question, to which the philosopher started to reply, “That isn’t the question, the real question is …”, to which the reporter interjected, “Yes, that is the question, I know because I just asked it”. (The deeper cultural significance there relates to British traditions of empiricism in philosophy versus French Cartesian ones.)

        Getting back to our muttons, I just told you that the structures in place, the actually existing ones as Marxists would call them, work to prevent “us” getting a look in and to prevent any attempts leaving any lasting tradition. You just made out that it is a rebuttal to show that all that is a result of distortions, not of the real deal. Yes! And I was just bloody telling you that that is what you face – distortions, not the real deal! That reply of yours doesn’t magically turn into a rebuttal just because you triumphantly exonerate the innocent version that was never on trial, and indeed was never even tried in the other sense of “tried”, i.e. attempted.

        • 1. Oh, screw. I DID fix the damn thing, there was some disruption in the Force, I worried that the edit didn’t take, thought it did, but it didn’t. Thanks for your perseverance.

          3. I’m going to have to read that carefully and after another cup of coffee before I can figure out exactly what you’re saying. I hate “No True Scotsman,” so I promise to review with care and an open mind.

          • OK, I did re-read it, and I owe you an apology: I complete misread what you wrote, leading to a non-sequitur answer. You wrote, “It has been tried, on a number of occasions. Each time the actual powers that be elected a new people, so the survivor bias of it all suppressed any learning. That means that even if you do try, you won’t be there to be counted afterwards. Like your predecessors, you may be massacred, exiled, repressed to the point that you never pass the torch, or you may just fade away, but you won’t be there to be counted afterwards.” Thanks to reading carelessly, I thought you were saying that “elections” solve the problem, when you were not saying that at all.

            This comes of answering comments of some nuance when I don’t have time to consider them like they deserve. I’ll try to do better.

            HOWEVER, what I thought was a reasonable response was not “No True Scotsman.” Pointing out a material distinction within a class is not that fallacy, though I have seen it called such before. If someone says, after a pit bull attack by an abused dog, “No pit bull is trustworthy,” and the retort is “an abused pit bull is not typical of pit bulls,” that’s a legitimate point. That is similar to what I meant when I thought you were saying that elections are responses to what I was highlighting and they don’t work: rigged elections aren’t real elections, so they don’t work, but they don’t prove elections don’t work either.

            Which was irrelevant to your actual point.

  3. I have rather mixed feelings on this one… because as baseball and the Red Sox are to you, Jack, hockey and the Bruins are to me.

    Hockey was the only team sport I played growing up (and I was terrible at it). But I did love it. At the time, you basically stood no chance of advancing in the game if you weren’t Canadian, preferably Quebecois. That’s largely because only Canada had made the investment into developing young players, starting around age four and moving up with organized league play from there. (Apropos of nothing, the first black player to reach the NHL was Canadian Willie O’Ree, who played for the Bruins in 1958 and again in 1961, though most of his long career was spent in the minors).

    Let me stipulate that as a matter of both law and ethics, I consider DeSantis to be on very firm ground here. But it’s also worth noting that hockey has made a long and concerted effort to bring more people into the fold. It arguably started when Europeans and Russians were recognized as terrific players (those nations had development programs) and started receiving NHL contracts. Although the players are still mostly white, black players are no longer a curiosity and have proven some of the best players in the past decade (most of them are Canadian by birth). Today, there are practicing Muslims and players of Asian heritage in the league. Any player who has the skills and the heart to play at the NHL level has a shot at a contract (side note: some European players have a little trouble adjusting to the NHL game, because although North American rinks are roughly the same length as European ones, they’re considerably narrower).

    It goes beyond that. In addition to active youth hockey programs all over the northern hemisphere, there’s remarkable development of girls’ and womens’ hockey as well, with serious collegiate programs, world championships and Olympic competition. There are programs for paraplegics and amputees. All in all, hockey as a sport – and it’s been an international effort – has become far more diverse and inclusive, and that process started long before any of the current wokeness. One could argue that it’s merely because this is good for business. I have a friend with two girls in middle school, both of whom are extremely active (and reasonably talented) players. Both know there’s no chance they’ll ever play in the NHL, but that doesn’t stop them from playing their hearts out now (and screaming their heads off when Dad takes them up to see the Bruins, where he lays out big $$ for tickets, refreshments and fooferaw – and that doesn’t touch what he pays each year for equipment and ice time for his girls).

    Professional level hockey, both at the NHL and the minor league levels, has grown remarkably; in my lifetime it has gone from six NHL teams (Toronto, Montreal, Boston, New York, Chicago and Detroit) to 32 (7 in Canada and 25 in the US), all of whom have minor-league affiliates. There’s discussion of adding two more in the next few years.

    So while I agree with DeSantis as noted above, I also have to note that I believe 1) he’s largely doing this for political positioning (savvy move) and 2) the NHL has been doing pretty well for itself up until now. In many regards, I consider this to be a rather dumb move on the part of the NHL when it comes to not understanding the optics. Then again, that shouldn’t be surprising; the NHL is essentially run by retired hockey players, and hockey players tend to be somewhat numb anyway.

    • A comment of the day. We don’t talk about hockey here enough. Also:

      1. The NHL has been woke pandering of late, like its tweet, “The NHL is proud to support this past weekend’s Team Trans Draft Tournament in Middleton, Wisconsin. This was the first tournament comprised entirely of transgender and nonbinary players, with around 80 folks participating!” which it followed up with “Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Nonbinary identity is real.” This is truly none of the NHL’s business.

      2. Of course DeSantis was taking advantage of a political opportunity, but doing the right thing for cynical and self-serving reasons is still doing the right thing.

      3. Was “numb” a typo?

  4. My question is – Are there really that many career paths in the NHL aside from being an actual hockey player that requires a SUMMIT or is this merely a job fair for ticket takers, snack/ drink salesmen, and custodians to clean up after the audience leaves?

    • Sure. An NHL team is limited to roughly 25 players on its active roster and a similar number on their minor league affiliate teams (this doesn’t include kids who’ve been drafted but are playing at the Collegiate or European levels and haven’t yet signed contracts).

      Each team, at every level, will have half a dozen or more coaches. There are equipment managers. Athletic trainers. Marketing and publicity personnel. Web managers. Sales personnel. Partnership marketing departments. Financial control. Scouts. Analytics and data engineers. Video coordinators. Transportation coordinators. Local play-by-play announcers are often employees of the team. Each team has a practice facility, and at those you’ll find culinary staff and a variety of technical experts (that ice doesn’t take care of itself). And so forth. It’s sort of like the military: for everyone on the front lines, there’s a tremendous logistical support apparatus behind them.

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