Category Archives: Hockey Politics

Jesse Ventura Is On Our Side On Racist Team Names

More support for changing the name of the NFL team in Washington comes from Jesse “The Body” Ventura. Yesterday, I wrote about how incredibly easy it would be to change the racist name of any kind of team. It’s really not that hard. Imagine the reverse, though. Imagine changing the Vancouver “Canucks” to the Vancouver “Insert racist slur here.” Somewhat inconceivable, so it should be easy to do the reverse, and fix the Washington NFL team name, as well as the other racist team names.

Now, hear how Jesse Ventura puts it:

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How To Fix Racist Team Names Like the Washington “Redskins”

“The Redskins Should Change Their Racist Name”

There’s actually a list of racist team names. A few of them even.

If you think the oh-so-rich professional sports leagues are the pure avenues of Everyman in pursuit of recreation in a troubled world, get over yourself. They are brand-obsessed, like all corporations. Some brands stink with their racist team names, logos, mascots and symbols, even though there are those that attempt to reflect positive elements of race [Atlanta Braves?]. A variety of people are saying this: #ChangeTheName and #ChangeTheMascot and that they are #NotYourMascot. Sounds like common sense to me.

But the only “good” reason I’ve ever heard about why some teams need to keep their racist names is…tradition. Maybe I’ve missed a few, but this one is so very sad. Tradition. Slavery was traditional as well. As well as keeping women from voting.

But let’s not only “pick on” Washington [the seat of the government that fought for the emancipation of a race from this slavery thing]. Let’s focus on the rest of the teams that have a rich tradition of sporting a racist team name!

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The NHL Gladiator Pimps

Risking player’s brain trauma for profit makes the NHL a gladiator pimp organization.

At some point, as estimates continue to roll in, the NHL accountants and lawyers will realize that reducing concussion risk in the NHL will make the league more profitable. The NHLPA needs to do a better job advocating for the health of its membership.

That will get me watching again, and my kids.

And that may be the only thing, aggravated by class action lawsuits, that get the game safer for players. Oh and the CBC getting rid of Don Cherry.

Here’s information from a recent study [emphasis is mine]:

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The Red Wings Fiddle While Detroit Burns

The new iconic photo of post-crash Detroit. Listen, can you hear the footsteps of Robocop?
The new iconic photo of post-crash Detroit. Listen, can you hear the footsteps of Robocop?

We can’t really blame just the Red Wings. We have to blame the Tigers and the Lions too, but really the 1% who own them.

Detroit is bankrupt. Services will be privatized to privateer leeches. Human beings will lose pension supports, jobs, wages and benefits. The 2008 crash could have been a catalyst for a manufacturing transition to a post-carbon energy infrastructure, but that was squandered.

But amidst all this, we have: stadia! Glorious stadia!

And who put up hundreds of millions for these glorious stadia? Governments, including one called Detroit, that is now bankrupt. And the citizens will be paying for these circuses instead of libraries, schools, water infrastructure and a host of other necessities in 21st century cities.

All I know is that if I’m in a fiscal crisis at home and I am having trouble paying for food, clothing and shelter, the last thing I should be doing is going out and buying a mid-life crisis Corvette convertible.

But that’s just me. What do I know about stadia.

What I do know is that the 1% who control governments around the world, big and small, will continue socializing the losses and privatizing the parasitic gains. And if this suddenly frustrates you, it’s called neoliberal capitalism. Find your nearest Occupy cell and begin building a post-capitalist/post-parasitical future…hopefully one that does not include Robocop.

NOOR: And, Frank, we just got some breaking news that the Michigan Strategic Fund has decided to issue $450 million in bonds for a new stadium for the Detroit Red Wings, 44 percent of which will be financed publicly. Do you think this decision is emblematic of the development model that led Detroit on this path for years, if you can give us a brief comment?

HAMMER: Well, you know, I mean, I think that Detroit built a new baseball stadium, it built a new football stadium, and lo and behold, here we are a few years later and Detroit is still going into bankruptcy. So apparently building stadiums doesn’t quite do the trick. And I think that a manufacturing model, a resurrection of manufacturing with green technology would be a much more permanent and sustainable solution.

Detroit Red Wings Get New $400 Million Taxpayer-Financed Stadium While the City Goes Bankrupt.

Challenging Homophobic NHL Fans

Having spent some time recently examining the NHL’s and NHLPA’s collective negligence about headshots, I was inspired to address the homophobia that surrounds hockey fandom last night. Sure the Canucks lost, but before that, someone called them a bunch of faggles in Twitterland. How did that all go down, and what hope is there that the NHL actually cares about combating mindless, ignorant bigotry and homophobia? Read about it after the jump.

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Boycott the National Headshot League (#NHL)

Before I get into my increasingly radical antipathy towards the NHL and NHLPA and their callous disregard for brain injury risks, I’d like you to spend a few moments watching this gratuitous display of intent to injure at a bantam hockey game in Kelowna last month involving teenagers. It will properly explain what I am about to say about the NHL and its embrace of callous violence.

More after the jump below.

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Politics, Re-Spun on Coop Radio, September 5, 2011

Spending Labour Day with Imtiaz Popat on “The Rational” on Vancouver’s COOP Radio, talking about Christy Clark’s revocation of a pre-2013 election date [coup, not really a premier, perhaps a “notional premier”], the end of the HST, the BCTF negotiations and how the courts noted how the government yanked almost $3 billion from BC’s K-12 system over the last 10 years, the federal NDP leadership race and the Canucks riot report as it relates to Vancouver’s municipal political scene.

Apologies for the abrupt ending: technical difficulties.

And a note on the BCTF strike action in Kelowna: it sounded ambiguous that the teachers were the ones who canceled recess. The teachers are going to start the school year not supervising at recess. The school board decided to cancel recess. This way, administrators don’t have to supervise that 15 minute chunk of time each year. See here.

Canucks Riots: Turn your neighbours in?

Yesterday, I wrote about the narrative of division that’s going around in the traditional media and social media following the Vancouver Riots.  Jasmin wrote about the standard leap-to-blame-the-anarchists reaction that also came up.

But now I’m getting kind of creeped out by the digital witch hunt that’s taking place, with a huge amount of websites and facebook groups that were created overnight, dedicated to taking pictures of the stupidity that happened in downtown Vancouver and effectively crowdsourcing the identification. In the end, it kind of feels like a call towards digital naming and shaming, or an online rush to name names and turn your neighbours in.

Never mind the fact that these websites are replete with horribly racist, sexist, ableist, and other kinds of disgusting comments about the people pictured in them – many of them, of course, pictured doing rather illegal things – but the very nature of an open website where anyone can post an image — with no restrictions that it actually be of the Vancouver riots — and people will clamor trying to scour Facebook and Tumblr and so on, trying to ‘identify’ people that they think they can see.  There are a number of images posted that have absolutely nothing to do with the Vancouver riots: I saw, on one Facebook group, a set of photos from the Chinese repression of the Uyghur riots in recent memory and the Jasmine uprisings in Beijing.

Potentially worse is that people named in stories or on the internet may not have been the people in the photos; it may not even be the case that they were there.

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On the Canucks Riot, Protest, and Division

I was saddened and disappointed to watch Vancouver burn last night.  Disappointed because the Canucks played so poorly and lost a game that they didn’t deserve to win, saddened to watch how the people in the streets ‘reacted’ to the game and went on a rampage, and I’m disappointed and saddened to watch the online–and traditional media–reaction to what happened.  Yesterday was a weird day; one that ended with me being temporarily restricted from updating my Twitter because I was posting too much, one that kept me up all night as I watched the part of the world that I really consider home burn and get smashed, one that scared me as I tried to contact my friends who were downtown. 

But, in short, I’m not surprised there was a riot.  I’m not an accredited hockey commentator, and I don’t watch a huge amount of it myself, so I’m not really able to comment on the psyche and social construction around the games extensively–other than I wonder how the pressure on the players to ‘fight’ and play a physical game could possibly translate into how reactions and responses are created after the game. Not to mention the narrative around ‘hockey riots’–and there’s a lot.  And, sadly, I’m not overly surprised at the extent of the geographic-based bashing in the media, both online and traditional, that seems to hold people who can afford to live in the City of Vancouver as some kind of sacrosanct class of citizens who would never dare to harm another.

Even more sadly, I think that the confluence of these events highlights a dominant narrative these days, one of division and antagonism and a willing ignorance of our collective humanity.  It is a narrative that is aptly employed by capitalism to keep us from working together, and willing to exploit one another, and it’s a narrative that’s used by overly commercialised professional sport to continue its business endeavours.

Perhaps the only bright light that comes out of the Canucks Riots of 2011 is the response to the reaction that happened today; with people travelling together to the downtown core to clean up the disaster that was last night.  But even that bright light is tinged with some darkness.

And it’s something that we probably all need to talk about.

(click read more to continue…)
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