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06-22-2011, 01:45 PM
Bill McNeal
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Montreal
Country: Canada
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Originally Posted by 417 View Post
I'll give it a go...*snip*
Gotta agree with most of this.

When I say Subban is getting the bad press that he does because he's black, I don't mean people make the conscious effort to not like him because of his skin colour. Especially not the fans (because that has come up in this thread already) who I feel just respond to the environment of ignorance the media has created.

There are many parallels between what Subban went through this year and what European players went through when they first came over (and to this day thanks to meatheads like Mike Milbury and Don Cherry). Which is even weirder when you think about it happening not only in this day of age, but to someone who's essentially from Toronto.

They were seen as a threat to the 'Canadian way', Subban is seen as a threat to 'old time hockey' (a term used in this very thread). These expressions are one and the same.

Comparisons were drawn between European players and soccer because it's seen as a European sport. Comparisons are drawn between Subban and basketball/football because they're seen as black sports.

To expound on the above point, hockey fans for all their talk of being a 'blue-collar' bunch are a very elitist group when it comes to liking other sports. It's not enough to not like soccer or basketball, but if you were to ever browse a thread on the subject on a hockey board it usually quickly devolves into posts about those players being wimps, or soft, or any emasculating term they can come up with. Europeans like soccer, so the stereotype European players have to break when entering the league is that they are soft divers. Basketball has a similar stigma, and it's not a coincidence that people propagate unfounded claims that Subban is scared of fighting and a diver.

And those are only the soft stereotypes. I've seen people call European players gutless cowards on these message boards for the simple fact that they had a poor playoff performance. Those are strong words, and ones you rarely see associated with North American born players. Has anybody ever used such strong language to describe Joe Thornton as has been used to describe the Sedins for an average playoff showing? And I don't consider "choker" to be all that derogatory.

When it comes to Subban, now he's just "disrespectful" and "cocky". How long until that devolves into him being a "thug" or a "gangster"? Because I see those terms thrown around in basketball and football threads.

And finally, my favorite part of the comparison. Whenever people want to deal with the subject, whenever somebody wants to call out a person like Don Cherry for being the xenophobe that he is, there's always the same, inevitable defense: "Ya, but _____ is _____ and he likes him."

Yes, that's true. Don Cherry does like some European players. There's a ton of video evidence of him begrudgingly giving them their due. But you know which ones he likes? The ones he perceives to play 'the Canadian way'. It's ok to be a European player as long as you're like us, essentially.

People couldn't possibly have a problem with Subban being black because everybody likes Jarome Iginla! Well yes, that's because he plays the game the 'right way' (fixed that for ya Panger). Ask Ray Emery about basically being labeled a headcase for showing up to work in flashy suits.

There are a lot of people left in the world who view the sport of hockey as a country club, though I don't even think they are aware of it. They aren't doing it to be malicious in most cases (though scum like Milbury should get canned for spreading his propaganda), but as you said it's borne out of ignorance.

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