Dave Bolland is no stranger to these parts. For three straight postseasons, the Chicago Blackhawks’ centre has played the role of archnemesis to the Sedins perfectly, hacking, slashing, and chirping with seeming impunity. Needless to say, the Sedins find him distractingly easy to hate and, as a result, so do Canuck fans.
Tuesday, Bolland made it even easier, drawing the ire of Canuck nation during an appearance on WGN Radio 720′s Blackhawks Live. Asked by co-host Andrea Darlas (at about 29:00), “If the Sedins ever become Hawks, will they still be Sisters?”, Bolland responded thusly:
They’ll never be Hawks, I don’t think we’d let them on our team, that’s one thing. We’d be sure not to let them on our team. Yeah, they’d still be sisters. They probably sleep in bunk beds, the older one on the top, younger one on the bottom.
Needless to say, Canuck fans didn’t like this very much. Outrage spiked on Twitter, where you’d have thought Bolland sawed the head off of Lord Stanley in Stanley Park.
My reaction to this is twofold. First, as a source of regular fan outrage, it’s really pretty tame. It’s not as though we didn’t already know that Bolland disliked the twins, and furthermore, nothing Bolland said has even a shred of originality. From the false bravado of refusing the Sedins as hypothetical teammates to the insinuation that they’re man-boys that sleep in bunkbeds to the oh-so clever swapping of “Brothers” for “Sisters”, Bolland may as well have been reading from a script a decade old.
And this was drivel when it started back in the aughts.
Furthermore, if it wasn’t already apparent from the somewhat leading wording of the question, he was doing a fluff radio gig. It was recorded before a live studio audience. He was trying to be funny and he was playing to the crowd, who had been being fed “Sedins are Sisters” lines for a half-hour at that point by host Dave Kaplan.
The last thing Bolland was going to do was be a buzzkill and dryly admit the twins were one-of-a-kind, superstar hockey players that, while he dislikes for tribal reasons, he’d love to have on his team. Frankly, I don’t think anybody involved in this conversation was capable of this sort of postmodern thinking. More than likely, it just would have been misconstrued as sympathy for the devil.
Suffice it to say, all things considered, these comments are very easy to shrug off.
But on second glance, as common as the “Sisters” remark is, it’s rare to hear it come from the mouth of a player, at least on the record, and it’s problematic.
I’ve spoken about the sexism and idiocy of calling the Sedins “Sisters” in the past, and I’ll gladly explain my issue with this jab again: let’s imagine, for a moment, that the Sedins were indeed women.
Nevermind that their two Art Ross trophies and two league MVP awards would be downright legendary — would it be acceptable to mock them for their gender? Is there something wrong with women playing hockey?
Of course not. The notion that it’s appropriate to insult male athletes by declaring them women is so unbelievably ignorant and backwards that anyone who perpetrates it simply outs him (or her) self as a loathsome half-wit.
That it could possibly be construed as acceptable, in 2011, to compare someone to a minority group for the purposes of disparaging their worth is mind-blowing.
Didn’t we just recently endure a controversy in which one player allegedly called another a “f*ggot”? Did we not collectively determine that this garbage was not okay? And, if I recall, it wasn’t just that it’s not okay to use an offensive, derogatory term such as that one — it’s also not okay to insinuate that there’s something wrong with being a homosexual in the NHL, no?
Now, unless we’ve decided that homosexuals are an especial minority (which seems decidedly counterintuitive), isn’t the underlying insinuation that it’s not okay to be a woman in the NHL just as bad?
Of course it is. And we need to stop condoning it, especially when it comes from the mouth of the players. “Cindy” Crosby is just as bad. “Lauren” Pronger is just as bad. Are there others? They’re just as bad.
Now I’m not calling for Bolland to get suspended or fined for these comments, because he really was just playing along with a bit. But I do think that it’s about time that we stopped “playing along” with this nonsense, and making a little noise this time around is a good start.
There are a lot of women involved in the game of hockey these days at every level. They watch the game, they care passionately about the game, they spend money on the game. Hell, the question that led to this diatribe was put to Bolland by a woman.
But the tacit claim inherent in this common, lazy insult — that it’s laughable that women might also play the game — needs to die and it needs to die immediately. Because we’re past it.Dave Bolland calls the Sedins 'sisters'; please let this be the end, Tags: bolland, I can't believe this has to be said, Sedins, sexism