The Calgary Flames hockey team fired their coach last week. Well, he resigned before they could fire him over an alleged racial slur made a decade ago.
Bill Peters might have been fired anyway, given the team’s poor performance of late, but the situation has cast the spotlight once again on the Canadian double standard. Certain behaviour is not acceptable in our society, although the standards seem to not be applied to everyone in the same fashion.
Peters is alleged to have used a racially charged word in referring to a player’s choice of music a decade ago, and to have physically abused others. A poor choice of words I am sure, though perhaps less a disturbing if it was music not individuals being referenced. Still, consensus in the media seemed to be that there was no place for such attitudes in modern sports and the coach had to go.
I have no problem with that. I don’t know when it would ever be right to abuse an employee, physically or verbally.
Peters is gone after allegations, tried and convicted in the press and the court of public opinion. We don’t know all the details or context, of the incidents, and probably never will. But on the weekend a friend asked a question that seemed to have a certain relevance to the situation.
Two months ago it was revealed that our Prime Minister had a habit of dressing in costume wearing blackface and brownface makeup, something that many people of color find extremely offensive. He did not resign for this admitted offence. He didn’t even consider stepping down. Instead, he was re-elected.
My friend wanted to know what the difference was between the two situations. Why are Bill Peters’ actions unacceptable, and the Prime Minster’s not?
I didn’t have an answer for him. Do you?
Looking at the different outcomes of these two issues, it would seem that we are a nation of hypocrites. That couldn’t be it, could it?