In the midst of the NHL offseason, we’ve seen our fair share of drama come from the world of sports over the past few days. From the Ryan Braun “apology” if you will, to preseason football that brings us closer to NFL season that is right around the corner, news has been shooting out of every corner of the sports world, except for the NHL.
So what about the NHL? Nothing drastic has come to pass over the last few weeks. Mikhail Grabovski finally signed his one year deal with the Washington Capitals that I had speculated on yesterday, but other than that this has been one slow and boring August. Not that August is ever anything spectacular in the world of hockey, but this year has been exceptionally slow and grueling. The type of slow and grueling that would lead to the populous of hockey fans to turn to slightly lesser news in the hockey world and turn it into something it shouldn’t be. Like say for instance, Pavel Datsyuk‘s response to Russia’s gay laws.
Datsyuk’s teammate, and captain, Henrik Zetterberg bashed the Russian laws about a week ago. Zetterberg’s fellow country man Henrik Lundqvist took some backlash for not speaking out against the laws (if that makes any sense to you). The fact that Lundqvist’s “You Can Play” project is even thought of as a PR move to make his fans happy is absolutely absurd. There’s no reason any of these athletes should be expected to speak out against or for anything, that’s not their job. So when Datsyuk was asked about his thoughts on the law, his response was merely, “I’m Orthodox and that says it all,” and bam, everyone goes crazy (because it’s August and there’s nothing else to talk about).
First of all, I don’t really see what the entire hoopla is all about here. Sure, Zetterberg doesn’t agree with the laws and spoke out about it, that’s his choice, and that’s his opinion. So why is this all such a big deal that Datsyuk’s response was short and subtle? It’s not that Datsyuk came out to talk about it like his linemate did, he was asked and he gave his honest opinion in a very non-offensive way, probably the most non-offensive way he could have. A topic of such delicacy should be handled just the way he did. So props to you Datsyuk.
Although Datsyuk may not be in the popular opinion here, he is indeed still entitled to his own opinion. Fansided’s own John Evans had his own spin on this entire debacle, and in response, it doesn’t matter how he came to his opinion on the subject, it’s his opinion and he’s entitled to it.
The man with the unpopular opinion is just as much entitled, as the man that stands with the majority at his side. Datsyuk didn’t reply with hatred, and he didn’t reply with any sort of anger or lash out against the gay community at all. He nearly stated that he was Orthodox, and frankly that does say it all. Just because Datsyuk’s beliefs don’t coincide with everyone else’s beliefs or opinions doesn’t make him a bad person. In fact, I would go to say that it makes him a better person for not lying or saying anything that he didn’t find to be truthful to himself.
In the end, I’m sick of things being blown out of proportion and I’m ready for hockey to start so we can all get on with our lives and talk about the glorious sport of hockey again. Things like this don’t matter, what Datsyuk or Zetterberg say, or apparently what Henrik Lundqvist doesn’t say doesn’t matter even the slightest bit. All I want is for the players to show up to the rink and play some hockey, because that’s what I enjoy. Off the rink, they’re just another guy, and they’re entitled to their opinions, just like you and me.
These athletes have a job, and that’s to play sports for our entertainment, not to start movements or jump on bandwagons and support various causes. Their beliefs and their opinions are their own, just as your beliefs and opinions are yours. Let’s let them get back to playing hockey and stop making a big deal out of something that isn’t our business to begin with.