Logan Mailloux: The Same Story, on Repeat
The Montreal Canadiens announced that they’re offering Logan Mailloux an entry level three year contract. I can’t tell you what it’s worth, because my brain was already launching into Mrs. White’s infamous monologue from Clue. “It’s like flames. Flames… from the side of my face.” Because it’s yet another instance of hockey culture missing the entire point.
Logan Mailloux was a high prospect in the draft, when it came out that while he’d been playing in Sweden – he’d taken pictures of a woman performing a sex act on him and showed them to teammates. She was horrified when she learned of this, and though she went to the police, it was essentially covered up there. (The police had ties to the team, it was downplayed. He was charged with defamation and indecent photography – given a fine and was able to return to Canada). It got widespread coverage during the draft, and Mailloux put out a statement asking not to be drafted.
The Canadiens did just that. And put together a million dollar education package for him, and didn’t really seem to include things that made victim’s rights group happy – but it looked good on paper.
They said he passed the courses with flying colors. He says the right things. (Even though we know that part of his education likely included media training on just what to say) And they expect everyone to forget.
But this is hockey culture. Where any talented man’s many sins will be overlooked if he’s the winning piece to get you to a championship. (If you haven’t read Game Misconduct by Evan F Moore and Jashvina Shah – I highly recommend it. It’s a hard read, but an honest look at how murky hockey culture itself is)
We’re watching Hockey Canada’s leadership fight to stay in control right now. They were just speaking in hearings about their funds to pay off victims of sexual allegations, and the lengths they went to hide this behavior – while fighting to remain in power. Andrea Skinner literally tried to say that because misogyny and violence against others is a systemic issue it wasn’t their problem.
But, they do everything they can to say that these men are owed their careers because of their talent. (Or in Hockey Canada’s place, that the lights wouldn’t stay on without the leadership of the people who have done their all to hide the worst of the sport from the public eye)
When literally a career in professional sports – any sport, is a reward. It’s something so few have, that you should gatekeep to exclude the people who are violent, hateful, etc. You should want to have those who want to be role models, to lift up the people who actually have put in the work.
Instead, hockey fans who aren’t cis het white men are constantly told that the talent of these men is more important than anyone else around them.
It’s exhausting. It’s humiliating.
I’m not going to say this is just a hockey problem. In the NFL, we’re still listening to people discuss how unfair it is that Deshaun Watson is suspended. Insisting hat he should be able to take his place because he wasn’t found guilty in a court of law. (Despite regular reminders that legal systems in North America are not made to favor victims of sexual crimes. The justice system puts an unfair burden on victims, leading people to not report. They instead decide to heal, because they don’t want to be retraumatized. Or that the majority of cases are decided as not guilty because there wasn’t overwhelming proof. Due to “he said/she said” circumstances)
But hockey, hockey culture specifically, chooses to do nothing. Hockey Canada chose to hush these things up and pay off victims. The NHL still has no guidelines for handling domestic violence or sexual assault.
And at every corner, they market these “troubled young men” as earning a second chance. When the reality is that they were given this comeback, step by step, by teams and leagues.
It’s telling that the Montreal Canadiens announced Logan Mailloux’s signing today. The news in Canada is dominated by the backlash against Hockey Canada. At any other point of time, this would have been a press release that was dropped late on a Friday afternoon.