Boy this season just gets more and more fun.
Close friend of the program Chris Block tweeted out a story last night about Hawks’ prospect Garret Ross being charged with one count of non-consensual dissemination of sexual images, or in terms you might have heard “revenge porn.” I’m not going to go into what it is for those who don’t know, but just understand it’s thoroughly disgusting and basically if guilty Ross should be beaten across the face with a piece of heavy mining equipment, to quote one of my favorite philosophers.
Where the discussion should turn at some point is how the Hawks handled yet another story of sexual misconduct, or didn’t. Whatever you think of how the Kane story went down and how the Hawks handled it, this is the second straight season that a story of sexual impropriety is being told about the Hawks organization. I think we’re definitely approaching “trend” designation if we’re not there already.
The first thing that everyone is probably asking themselves is when did the Hawks know about this. According to DeKalb County Courts, his first hearing on this was February 19th. That’s a full month before it affected his playing ability, at least according to the Hawks. It’s hard to believe that the Hogs didn’t know about this before then, and if the Hogs knew you’d have to think the Hawks did too. Of course, Ross wasn’t taken away from the team until it was about to get into the bloodstream, which stinks to high heaven. The actual incident could trace much farther back than that, so for the Hawks to be oblivious is pretty inexcusable. Also, there’s this:
— Matthew Schwerha (@MSchwerha) March 22, 2016
This is the exact kind of shit we had only been screaming about for months and a direct fallout of how the Hawks and their fans handled everything back in the fall. And this is not going to be the last time it does so. The fact that there are mouth-breathing scum rubbing their hands together and saying to themselves, “Good,” should make everyone violently ill. This is the kind of the thing the Hawks’ stance back then, not serious enough for some, can bring about.
While this “revenge porn” and sexual assault and harassment are a sports-wide problem (hi there, Lakers), that doesn’t mean the Hawks aren’t in control of their own domain. It’s about time they stepped up. They have done as little as possible in areas of discrimination and sexual misconduct every time they’ve been confronted with it. They only stopped playing “The Stripper” when Casey Rathunde embarrassed them about it at the convention. They took the Ice Girls out of their revealing outfits for exactly one season, and then when that died down they came right back again with them. Joel Quenneville’s radio show is sponsored by Hooters. Patrick Kane redemptions stories. You know the list by now. Here they had a chance to really make a statement, and again punted right before it became news so they didn’t look wholly evil. Just mostly evil.
This law has been on the books for a year or so, and any proactive mind within the organization could figure out how young athletes tend to act and get out ahead of it. This law covers everything from revenge porn to merely sharing the photos with your buddies, and every team should be out in front of that. But of course, no team has ever been proactive in this sort of thing so here I am shouting at the rain again.
Still, while it may be late, this is yet another chance for the Hawks to get their fucking house in order. It runs deeper than just this. If you know anyone who has worked for the team, you know this. You know all the stories from last winter and the one before that. When does it stop? If the Hawks are going to wait for the NHL or other leagues to take the wheel, then we’ll all be fucking dust by the time anything changes. Here is a chance for the Hawks to finally institute an organization wide policy, and not just human resources/lip service bullshit. Once a player is drafted and signed, they are immediately instructed on how they will behave and act toward women inside and outside the team. That things like this, as soon as there is any wind of it, will be swiftly dealt with and that player will be made an example of. That the Hawks will actually set a benchmark for other teams and leagues to follow, as they keep telling us they love to do but don’t actually come close to doing.
The Hawks have created an atmosphere where people are uncomfortable and some are straight up afraid. Yet they still have a chance to do something about it instead of hiding behind belated actions and their bobbleheads and their banners and their masses of baying fans. There is a chance here. But I’m fairly sure they won’t take it. And the balance sheets and financial reports will tell us it won’t matter.