About Race, Big Money, Hypocrisy and Sour Grapes



On SeptembeNovel Newr 23, Vancouver Canucks prospect Jordan Subban scored the team’s first goal in a preseason game against the San Jose Sharks. It was his first goal in the NHL, albeit an exhibition game. Needless to say, like any young man with NHL ambitions, it was an exciting moment for another Subban brother as he celebrated with his white teammates.
How do I know they are white? I saw the celebrating on TV; Subban, the 19-year-old brother of Montreal Canadiens outstanding defenceman P.K. Subban, was the only nonwhite one. I also saw the picture in the Vancouver Sun along with the caption, the “dark guy in the middle.” For those who are colour-blind or otherwise visually impaired, I imagine.
So how did Jordan Subban react to the unflattering caption, written by one of Michael Moore’s noted stupid white men? He called it “a pretty honest mistake.” Really!
You continue, “It wasn’t intentional… It was obviously a mistake…” No Jordan, it wasn’t. He was thinking it, so he wrote it. White people make those “mistakes” regularly; they think they’re funny and they can get away with it.
Jordan, you come from an intelligent family so I suggest that you ask your father or mother about those recurring “honest mistakes” [some] white people are so fond of making whenever their latent baggage cannot be contained. It’s always so easy to have a few laughs at the expense of Black people. You can’t control what people do or stay, but don’t ever defend or tolerate any of it; nip it in the bud!
Also, there are (mostly good) common sense people out there who readily react. One of them wrote, “Just because it’s the most obvious differentiating feature doesn’t mean it is safe to use it. Often in our culture obvious physical attributes are used to mock, intimidate or otherwise differentiate people in a negative way…Jordan does have dark skin, but why point out that particular thing when other differentiating factors are perfectly sufficient…”
Juxtapose that sentiment with this one, “I hardly think Subban is particularly discriminated against. He’s playing in the NHL, an opportunity very, very few get to experience. That caption was not racist in the least.”
Well… on the surface maybe not, but…
J.S., ask your big brother about the racist Tweets and texts Boston fans directed at him during the playoffs last spring.
What you must never do Jordan is defend or excuse ignorance and stupidity of any kind, from anyone. You say you have “more important things to worry about…?” Me too. But just to let you know, if and when you make it to the NHL, be prepared for more and worse honest mistakes, followed by standard apologies.
Anyways, I hope your NHL dreams come true. Maybe we’ll see you going head-to-head with your brother, P.K., or taking a few shots on brother Malcolm, even popping a goal or two.
Oh, by the way, I wonder if that ‘captionist’ ever had to describe/identify the Staal brothers. You must’ve heard of those four brothers who have made their names in the NHL. They are good players, and they’re white.

The Main course

I am not a rabid sports fan by any stretch. I don’t go ra ra ra ra crazy when a team wins a decisive game three, five, or seven of a series I don’t wear sports paraphernalia, but would if a team offered me a contract to become a walking advertisement [for the logo] for a season or three… I came to the realization years ago, when I used to spend some of my time watching hockey and football, expending passion and emotion watching guys with much more money than I could ever dream of amassing fortunes… So I concluded why should I invest my precious time watching people living up to their contracts when I could be doing personal “things…” to make an infinitesimally tiny fraction of the money those “sportsters” are making?
Nevertheless, even if I do not play any particular sport, I still enjoy peeping in occasionally at a game, but I simply cannot spend three hours watching people make money. Am I nuts?
Which brings me to a subject that was played out it seems like forever… but came to a head at the end of last hockey season and the playoffs – P.K. Subban’s contract and who should wear the C for les Canadiens.
As we now know, Subban inked a big money, long-term contract, which had many lips flapping and tongues wagging…
As far as the C and the dollars go, former NHLer, Alex Kovalev, a good player in his heyday, indeed a fan favorite wherever he played – including a short stint with the Montreal Canadiens – had a lot to say about P.K.
I have nothing against Kovi as he was called in hockey parlance. In fact, I like the guy; he’s got a good heart, a humanitarian spirit, what with his foundation established to help children with heart problems, when he played in Montreal. Now living in New York he comes to Montreal each year for an annual golf tournament to raise money for his foundation. What’s not to like about the guy?
What I didn’t like, though, was Kovalev’s contention, during his visit to Montreal in August for his annual golf tournament to raise money for his foundation, that while P.K. Subban has a strong image on the Canadiens team “I don’t see him as a great leader… It’s not a question of age, more a question of character… He’s too risky… He works hard but takes too many chances…”
Wearing the C. I had never heard P.K. publicly express any interest in becoming captain of les Canadiens, it’s the sportsters on TV and radio who always engaged in that talk… But if that were to happen it would’ve pleased some fans and piss off others. Nevertheless, like any other hard-working member of the team he would’ve merited consideration.
In criticizing Subban’s 8-year $72M contract Kovalev said, “I do not understand how players can receive such contracts now… It’s a different era and the players who preceded my generation thought the same thing about us…”
You’re right, Alex. It’s all about the money, actually it always was. It’s just that professional sports today are synonymous with big money. All P.K. and his agent did was strike the best deal they could with the team management/owner. Remember, in your heyday with the Penguins (and other teams you played with) your agent secured the best for you. Yes, he won the Norris Trophy, and as you stated that was “one of the reasons why he received a new contract. But what do you mean regarding his play, you “don’t understand why he got so much money…?”
You’re confusing me.
What should he have done, refuse the offer (like you would’ve), Alex? “The quality of his play does not justify the contract of eight years for 72$ M?” And in a predominantly white league there are also many who think he shouldn’t be making that kind of money.
Smells like jealousy, tastes like sour grapes…
But, there’s still a “but” a sort of asterisk, attached to P.K.’s Norris Trophy win, as if he’s not quite deserving of it. One well-known and highly respected sports commentator rightly refers to P.K. as “[…] a player of colour” (not in that questionable “dark one” sense), unlike the predominantly white others in the NHL.
Lucrative sports contracts, always a source of extensive discussion in the sports media. Especially in this instance when a 25-year-old Black hockey player signs the biggest contract ever in the history of the Holy, Divine, Montreal Canadiens hockey team. And one can bet Kovalev was voicing the thoughts of many of those who once played for the storied franchise, and are probably stewing with jealousy each time they watch the young man go about his business of earning a living…
Tough for people like you Alex, you all arrived at your expiry date. Let today’s young talents now make what the market can bear. But they, too, have an expiry date.
Meanwhile, P.K. is under a microscope (has been since arriving in Montreal), maybe he’s been watched even when he’s asleep. It’s as if he has an obligation to carry the team on his shoulders (whatever happened to that proverbial “chip”?) just because he’s making big dollars. Maybe, Alex, you would rather see P.K. Subban making his $72 million dollars in the NBA or NFL.
Oh, Alex, one of your choices to sport the C for les Canadiens would predictably be a white player; you naturally selected Max Pacioretty who in your mind, would be “the ideal candidate to wear the C… He has matured a lot over the past seasons… and his road to the NHL wasn’t easy…” Guess P.K.’s was a cakewalk! But in August, Gazette sportswriter Jack Todd wrote, “Andrei Markov would make a fine captain…”
But the C is a moot point. Canadiens management put the discussion and speculation to rest when it was announced mid-September that for the 2014-15 season the team will go without a captain, opting instead for three or four [Alternate] captains. Good enough!
So I’ll be peeking in on a few Canadiens games over the course of the 2014-15 season, watching P.K. Subban defend/earn his $72M – under the microscopic spotlight and hoping that the team “goes all the way…”