Hockey invented scandal

Hockey invented scandal

Twins

Hockey invented scandal

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Just a few weeks ago, we were puttering along in the sports world, waiting for three seasons to start and mostly enjoying baseball season, before a set of stories rocked the sports world, the Michael Vick dog fighting story, the Tim Donaghy NBA referee gambling story, and Barry Bonds chase for Hank Aaron’s record, marred by steroids. Days later, the hockey playin’ Staal brothers were arrested in Lutsen, MN, for getting drunk, standing in the highway and screaming at motorists. People pointed at this and laughed, saying “Ha! Hockey can’t even do scandal right!” Really?
First off, let’s make one thing clear. There isn’t a group of young men I know that HASN’T got blasted and started taunting someone at 4 in the morning, especially Canadians. I’ve done it from my apartment balcony with no shirt, on Easter. Not something I’m proud of (Wait. Yes I am.) but it happens. To everyone.
And that’s another point, I suppose. The Staal incident got so much publicity because these things don’t generally happen with hockey players. Players on one team in the NFL have been arrested for things like public intoxication and drunk driving 12 times in the past year. You can hardly say the dog fighting arrest sullied the image of the league, or, for that matter, was all that remarkable for a professional athlete (see: Qyntel Woods). The Staals were breaking new ground for the NHL, dirtying an otherwise pure name, and isn’t that what scandal is all about?
No, you say? Well, let’s make another point then. Given that this behavior isn’t particularly new or secretive, I think that the dogfighting allegations can be filed under controversial, such as with the steroids debacle. Everyone knows there are steroids out there, but nobody knows what to do with the confirmed or alledged users of steroids. Not particularly scandalous.
The closest we have to a real scandal is in the NBA, with the referee’s gambling fiasco. I, along with many other people, have always had a sneaking suspicion that the NBA was fixed, ever since I watched Michael Jordan take 14 steps after picking up his dribble. But for those who don’t question the sanctity of the game, I suppose this was a scandal.
And that takes us back to hockey, the inventors, and still title holders of the “scandal king” crown. Just check out these soap opera worthy scandals. You want romance gone right? How about Candace Cameron and Valeri Bure? Gone wrong? How about Anna Kournikova stringing along Sergei Federov and Valeri’s brother Pavel? A good gambling fiasco? Look no further than the Rick Tocchet/Janet Jones (Wayne Gretzky’s wife) debacle? And the coup de grace? How about the Mike Danton murder mystery, in which he hired someone to kill his former agent?
Any of these would make an excellent made for TV movie. I don’t expect to see anything about dogfighting on Lifetime in the near future.
The most amazing part? All of these incidents happened withing the past 5-10 years. I had to remind everyone of all this because the NHL is humble. They shouldn’t have to go around bragging about something that they are clearly the best at.

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