The NHL is Finally Getting It: You Don’t Assault Women!

As I write this blog, I can’t help but see the irony. Irony; that’s a fancy word for something totally screwed up. I would use stronger language, but then I would lose a lot of friends and followers.

Slava Voynov Maybe some of you remember the domestic violence incident last year when Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlomov beat the hell out of his girlfriend by knocking her down with kicks, stomping on her chest and dragging her around the house and out the door for good measure. He was charged with second degree kidnapping and third degree assault. It didn’t make much difference to the Avalanche; he continued to travel with the team, played throughout the season and continues to play to this day.

On Monday morning, October 20, 2014 Slava Voynov of the Los Angeles Kings was arrested on domestic violence charges with a bail set of $50,000. He made bail, of course — and lawyered up. The Kings organization immediately suspended him, and despite the fact that no charges have filed. He is suspended indefinitely.

According to the Associated Press, ESPN and several other sources:

“’These developments are of great concern to our organization,’” the Kings said in a statement. “’We support the NHL’s decision to suspend Slava Voynov indefinitely during this process, and we will continue to take appropriate action as the legal proceedings and the investigation by the NHL take their course.’”

The league is insisting that the cases of the two players are completely different. The only real difference I can see is that between the two incidents was the Ray Rice assault that raised a domestic violence issue throughout sports.

Let’s Get Real

In case you don’t feel like pulling a law book from the shelf, a third degree assault like Varlomov was charged with, meant that the person doing the assault was doing it with intention and that it is reckless and without regard. It carries a two year jail sentence. Second degree kidnapping can carry anywhere from an eight year to 23 year sentence!

If either one of us had committed those crimes, we would have been sitting in a jail cell and not on a bench at the Pepsi Center (Avalanche home ice). When I hear someone got off  like that, in my opinion, I figure that money was changing hands somewhere – somewhere hidden from the cameras and the spotlights.

I am happy that the NHL and the NHL players union have agreed that Voynov needs to sit indefinitely until the legal outcome is resolved.

It is not enough.

Without an understanding of consequences for poor choices, it will just continue to be one bad ethical screw-up after another in the NHL. Without instilling a framework of good ethics throughout the NHL, it will happen again – and again. The NHL has apparently been unable to get their message across. And please spare me mentions of “cultural differences.” This is 2014, and men do not hit women; don’t grope women; don’t kidnap women; don’t drag women; don’t rape women and on and on.

Nevertheless, it is not enough to tell these guys that you should never hit a women – ever, they must understand where their actions will land them.

Now back to the word “irony” I used above. Ray Rice could be back in the NFL in just a few weeks. I think that’s unbelievably ironic. Who he would play for, I have no idea but some idiot team will pick him up. It could come back to haunt the NFL for many years to come. If you are a man and you stand for anything, it should bother you too.

As for the NHL, we can only hope that they’re finally getting it. Times have changed and they had better well get that lesson now or pay the consequences later!



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