Anyone Making A Big Deal Of Andrew Shaw Using A Gay Slur In The Penalty Box Needs To Pay More Attention
Okay, here's the precursor. Andrew Shaw acted like a complete buffoon last night. He took the dumbest of dumb penalties at the most pivotal moment of the series to this point. In fact, a strong case can be made that he cost a team as dangerous as the Blackhawks the game. Not only that, but he proceeded to act like a complete child afterwards. Flipping middle fingers. Spiking water bottles. He made a complete ass of himself, especially considering he was a bigger victim of his own decision making than he was of poor officiating. In short, there's a lot of things you can criticize Andrew Shaw for, but saying the word "faggot" as he was sitting alone in the penalty box is probably last on the list.
I get it. That word needs to be phased out of society. I know that, you know that, and I am sure Andrew Shaw knows that. However, if we are going to put him through the ringer for using offensive language in the penalty box then we might want to 'Mic Up' the penalty box and give the general public a strong dose of reality. Maybe keep a camera zoomed in on the face of every player to serve an infraction for one full playoff series before we act like Andrew Shaw is a Bible thumping homophobe. This isn't Rajon Rondo maliciously hurling slurs in the direction of a man he knows is homosexual. This was Andrew Shaw letting his anger show through the use of careless, abusive language.
Criticizing a professional athlete for what he says in the heat of the moment while sitting in a glass box is like criticizing someone for what they say when they are in their car alone sitting in traffic. They hardly even have control over their own words at that point. It's so engrained in the DNA of professional athletes to use inappropriate language when they are secluded and feel wronged that -as sad as this is - Andrew saying "faggot" was basically second nature. That doesn't make his use of the word in question okay, but it's certainly understandable. It might sound like a cop out, but Andrew Shaw is right. There is next to no chance he remembers what he said when he was taking his frustrations out on a referee. Does that mean he gets a pass for using a derogatory term? No. Does it mean he is alone in doing so? Far, far from it. Before we bury one guy - that already did a hell of a job of burying his own team - we might want to think about actually doing something to regulate such terminology in professional sports, because the problem most certainly doesn't begin and end with Andrew Shaw.