Did A Ridiculous Line Of Questioning About Sexism In The NHL Just Make Gary Bettman Look Like A Rational Human Being?
Sports Illustrated- He also shared his thoughts on the “Katy Perry!” chants in Winnipeg that were directed at Ducks winger Corey Perry during the Jets’ recently concluded first round series.
When asked by Jesse Spector of the Sporting News about the issue of underlying sexism and misogyny that occasionally appears around the league, and presented with that example from Game 3 in Winnipeg, Bettman was incredulous.
“You’re suggesting that the crowd saying ‘Katy Perry’ to Corey Perry was sexist? Or misogynist?” he asked. “I don’t think taunting chants at players on the other side of the ice is intended to be sexist in the slightest. It’s like when you call a goaltender a sieve, they chant that. Is that now inappropriate also?”
I then chimed in, pointing out that a sieve is not a person with feelings (let alone a historically marginalized group) and noted that deriding a player by calling him a woman is, in fact, pretty sexist.
“I see the point, but I think it’s overly literal,” Bettman replied. “I think that nobody there is taking it seriously. They’re trying to get to a player’s thought process."
Bettman did, by the end of the discussion, come around a bit, saying that he takes sexism as seriously as other disrespectful fan actions, such as booing during national anthems and homophobic chants. “I think there’s always a line between what is parody in good fun in chanting and what is intended to belittle certain segments of society,” he said. “We obviously don’t encourage [the latter].”
Yup, that'll do it. When you lose a battle of wits with Gary Bettman your entire 'movement' has to be called into question. If you are a rational, free thinking person there is no way you can read what Bettman said above and disagree with him. I would say this would be a kill shot to those up in arms over some light, gender based ribbing at a professional hockey game, but everyone knows you can't argue with stupid. Generally speaking, irrational people are quite persistent. That's basically the reason no man has ever won an argument with an aggravated girlfriend.
I have got to wonder if Bettman was ecstatic or troubled to hear this question. On one hand, as a leader of an organization, you never want to be excused of prejudice in your 'workplace'. On the other hand, it's probably the easiest fucking question he has ever had to answer as commissioner. When it comes to press conferences, that was pretty much a lay up in terms of difficulty. This was the question on the test that you see and immediately do a fist pump because it's guaranteed points. I think Bettman just gained some credibility in my book. I could learn a lot from these statements. He basically just found the most politically correct way to tell someone "you don't know what the fuck you are talking about".
Now that Gary and I have shared some common ground, I think it is my duty to speak on his behalf in regards to sexism in the NHL. Bucket your seat belts everyone. If you thought a 'Katy Perry' chant was bad, it's about to get a whollllle lot worse. Ready for a little reality? Hockey is a game catered to the male population. Is that a sexist statement? Probably, but it's also the goddamn truth. Does that mean that women can't play it? Does it mean that women can't watch it? Does it mean that women can't enjoy it? Of course not, on all counts. However, It's a game that embraces masculinity and machismo. That is nothing new. Is it right when a fan screams out "bitch" or "pussy" to players on the ice? No, but the aura is one of passion and intensity. I can guarantee you the last thing those fans have on their mind is the disparagement of women. If calling a male hockey player a female's name is a form of institutionalized sexism then I shudder to think how these people would categorize what the players actually say to each other on the rink. The atmosphere on and off the ice at a professional hockey game has stayed fairly consistent from the first drop of a puck. The NHL doesn't have some new found sexism problem as much as society has a new found outrage problem.
If Corey Perry was born without a dick, he wouldn't be a former Hart Trophy winner. If Sidney Crosby had to pee sitting down he would have a far better chance of actually becoming a princess than one of the best players in the sport. Those are facts. So referring to a player as "Chrissy Pronger" is far more of an insult to his talent than it is an insult to a demographic of society that historically isn't very good at hockey. Can we maybe stop trivializing the entire premise of sexism? If everything is sexist, is anything really sexist? There are women out there trying to battle against very real unearned generalizations. However, not being all that great at hockey is decidedly not one of them. There are women out there that get paid less money than men to do the same exact job. That is an extremely prevalent phenomenon. So why the fuck are we focusing on an organization that doesn't employ females as active participants based solely on their qualifications, or lack there of? If anything, professional sports are the least prejudice fraction of society because they don't hire based strictly on race, gender or sexual orientation. Maybe it's time to refocus feminism to a sector of society where change would actually benefit women. The fact is, it's not possible to marginalize women's existence in professional hockey when they don't fucking exist in professional hockey.
Crowd participation is as much a part of the game as watching a triple overtime playoff thriller, yet the controversy surrounding one is getting in the way of me doing the other. I know this is like trying to fight a fire with gasoline, but if you are offended by a 'Katy Perry' joke at a hockey game, you are too much of a pussy to enjoy hockey.