Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Posting pictures at United Center entrances -- how else to ban them?

Chicago Blackhawks officials say four fans of the hockey team are now banned from the United Center for life because of their behavior at a weekend game against the Washington Capitals.

You know, the four who insisted on shouting racially-motivated taunts at a black Capitals player during his time in the penalty box!

THE BLACKHAWKS HAVE made all the appropriate statements how they’re appalled that any of their fans could have such horrid thoughts. A lot of people are engaging in verbiage meant to make themselves sound appropriately concerned.

Yet the truth is I don’t have a clue how you can possibly do anything to enforce this; unless you can find a way to put a Scarlet Letter, of sorts, on all the racist knuckleheads of our society.

Many of whom, if you branded them with a “K” (or a “B” for bigot) would probably take it as a badge of honor – that’s how twisted their thought processes are.

I don’t have a clue how the Blackhawks can say they’re banning four individuals from the stadium and their games. Do we literally post their pictures at the stadium entrance – with orders that the quartet be shot on sight if they try to attend a game.

DO WE EXTEND it to all the ticket services that none of the four ever be sold tickets to a Blackhawks game?

Maybe we should ban them from even following hockey games or teams? Although I don’t have a clue how this could be enforced.

Many people have gone out of their way to say the proper things, but I’m not convinced there’s going to be any serious change in attitudes or behavior.

Because a part of me believes that many sports fans are serious believers of Homer J. Simpson when he once said, “This ticket (to a ballgame) doesn’t just give me a seat. It also gives me the right, no the duty, to make a complete ass of myself.”

WHICH THOSE FOUR fans now banned from the hockey arena certainly did on Saturday when they insisted on implying that a black player doesn’t belong in hockey.

What I find almost humorous (but in a pathetic way) is the marketing campaign the National Hockey League has ongoing these days – “Hockey is for Everyone,” which is supposed to make the sport out to be something for all, and not just for white people from Canada.

In fact, the Blackhawks had a promotion based on the theme during their Thursday match against the Anaheim Ducks. It seems the message of a “safe, positive and inclusive environment for players and families regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation and socio-economic status” didn’t take.

Because just two days later, the incident singling out Devante Smith-Pelly occurred. Although the Blackhawks’ lone black player, Anthony Duclair, said those four fans’ bad behavior wasn’t in any way unique, or isolated.

I’M SURE THOSE four fans, along with many others, are prepared to dismiss the whole affair as a lot of ‘politically correct’ trash talk about nothing. There probably isn’t anything that can be done to change such attitudes, or convince them of how big of knuckleheads they truly are.

Now I’ll admit to not being much of a hockey fan (although I appreciate the significance to the Chicago sports scene of a team that has three Stanley Cup championships in this decade). Part of it is that I have never ice-skated – and floor hockey is a second-rate game that filled up some childhood gym class time.

I’m sure that is true for many others – particularly in parts of the country where the existence of ice and snow is considered a myth.

Which means we’re likely to see more continued bad behavior – and most likely the instances of the four banished from the United Center finding a way to sneak into a Blackhawks game; while taking a perverse pride in being able to do so.


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