After Auston Matthews netted his first goal of the 2019-2020 campaign, Jim Hughson (play-by-play for Hockey Night in Canada) decided to declare that “[t]hat’s how you put a little problem behind you!” Now if you don’t know what ‘little problem’ he’s referring to, go ahead and Google “Auston Matthews police”. Sneak peek: it involves the Maple Leaf trying to get into a woman’s locked car with a bunch of his friends while she was still sitting in it…
So allow me to say something that shouldn’t have to be said, and certainly not by an 18 year-old on a college newspaper:
PUTTING A SMALL DISK OF RUBBER IN THE BACK OF A NET DOES NOT EXCUSE YOU FROM BEING A GARBAGE HUMAN BEING!
Oh wait, you wanted more? The biggest problem with Hughson’s statement is that it implies that because Matthews has this incredible talent (he is an elite hockey player) anything he does with it makes up for whatever horrible conduct he partakes in off the ice. It’s the rich man’s version of “boys will be boys.”
The hockey world has every right to embrace Matthews as a player, after all he didn’t assault the woman (or do any worse). However, implying that what happened was a ‘little problem’, (especially in the tone with which Hughson spoke) that can be swept under the rug with one shot is downright wrong. Athletes everywhere are human beings before they are athletes and what Matthews did was wrong on a human level.
Originally Published in Bandersnatch Vol.49 Issue 07 on December 4th, 2019