People Seem None Too Pleased That Ryan Getzlaf Walked Away With Nothing More Than A Fine After Using A Gay Slur Towards An Official
OutSports- Last year when the NHL suspended Chicago Blackhawks player Andrew Shaw one playoff game for being caught using a gay slur, the league was lauded for taking the meaningful step.
Now the NHL is backtracking.
Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf was caught calling a referee a “cocksucker” on multiple occasions during his team’s Game 4 against the Nashville Predators.
The NHL’s reaction? A meaningless $10,000 fine. No suspension.
If the NHL wanted to take a real stand, they would suspend him for a playoff game.
To be clear, “cocksucker” is an even more specifically anti-gay term than “faggot” (though they can be equally hurtful). The latter has been co-opted for years in sports to mean other things that demean an opponent. To be sure, the root of the term is homophobia, but it’s taken on a whole other meaning for many people unaware that it’s a gay slur.
See, now what we have here is a classic miscommunication between sexualities. I think the straight community as a whole figured there was one particular word at the heart of the controversy when they saw that Ryan Getzlaf was taking some heat for using a gay slur. I believe it's safe to say that that word was not "cocksucker". Now, that might be an ignorant assumption, but it's not one that's totally untrue. I suppose it is rather homophobic to attempt to insult a man by claiming that he enjoys phallic genitalia in and around his mouth, but that's not something I can say that I realized until this very moment.
I can't speak for the Ducks' center's knowledge of all things LGBT, but - if he's anything like me - then this is more so an issue of negligence than it is discrimination. The NHL's decision to fine him instead of sentencing him to a one game suspension similar to the one they gave Andrew Shaw for using the term "faggot" last year isn't so much inconsistent as it is an admittance that they too were in the dark on the offensiveness of implied oral sex between males. I wouldn't go as far as saying that Ryan Getzlaf's star power had absolutely nothing to do with him receiving nothing more than a costly slap on the wrist, but the word in question not widely being considered prejudice certainly weighed heavier than whose (apparently dick-free) mouth it came from.
So let me borrow some words from the guilty party and offer an apology to the gay community. Once again you are going to have to excuse our innocent disregard for your feelings, because - as demeaning as "cocksucker" might be to men that actually suck cocks - it's nowhere near reaching the level of universal disdain that a particular F-word has. I know it's pathetic, but we are still taking baby steps toward true understanding and when we get there you can start demanding that players sit out playoff games with massive implications because they thoughtlessly slandered the potential penile preference of an on-ice official.
Ryan Getzlaf's apology (which, for what it's worth, seems genuine):