Grinds-my-gears1

Grinds My Gears – Throw Varly Out and Brian Burke

I know what happens when you don’t wait around for actual convictions and the whole “innocent until proven guilty” premise that our country is kind of built on. But last night touched a very raw nerve that I have when it comes to domestic abuse and violence against women perpetrated by athletes. So I’m going to jump all that.

I would love nothing more than Gary Bettman to suspend Semyon Varlamov for 40 games, or 80, or more, and for the players’ union to do absolutely nothing about it.

But of course, we don’t live in that fantasy world where scumbags like Varlamov get what they assuredly deserve.

The way sports handles those who beat wives, girlfriends, or just women, is an absolute joke. Or it would be a joke if it weren’t so sickening. Then again, it’s only a microcosm of how we as a society undervalue these things (and if you’re going to argue that we are still far ahead of many societies and how they treat women, yes you’re right. But just because you’re slightly above the mud doesn’t mean you’re standing tall). How many athletes barely get a slap on the wrist after a domestic case? It’s not just hockey, of course. But Joe Corvo shouldn’t have a job. Brett Myers is still pitching in the majors. Brandon Marshall is a star receiver. Fuck me, people still buy Chris Brown records. What kind of message are we sending?

If the biggest argument against the use of PEDs is that we want to send the message to kids that it’s not ok, then why aren’t we doing the same about a much worse crime? When will sports fully admit that they do act as role models or examples for children, and try to influence an aspect of society that far too many grow up thinking is ok for them?

We don’t even know how many of these cases get shuffled under the rug. Michael Vick was suspended while he was in jail for dog-fighting. Ben Roethlisberger missed a quarter of a season for basically being a rapist. Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, how many other colleges have we heard disturbing victim-intimidation stories from when it comes to rape victims? It’s nothing short of disgusting.

I know the problems. These kinds of cases are really hard to prove, just like rape cases tend to be. The pressure on the victim becomes so high that most just can’t go through with it. It can be a he-said she-said mess. They get settled, they get thrown out, sometimes the victim gets blamed.

But sports can help lift that stigma. They can make it just a little easier for women to carry on a fight that can be so painful. Just maybe they can start to change things as a whole.

One day, there’s going to be a commissioner of one of the major sports who is going to make it plain. Commit any sort of violence against women, and you’re going to have a severe penalty. Just as the rest of us would. I know athletes live in a different world with different standards, but some things carry through no matter what. And we’ll all be better off.

But of course, Semyon Varlamov will be starting for the Avs maybe as soon as this weekend. His coach Patrick Roy will face no questions about his past. Same as it ever was.

-If you haven’t seen it, one of my favorite targets Brian Burke penned an article today in the USA Today defending fighting. There isn’t really a new argument here, just more of the same “the rats will take over” and “we police ourselves.”

But to me it’s all a straw-man argument. Those who say that without fighting dirty players will run riot are basically basing that on nothing. It’s a kind of fear-mongering, I guess. There’s no fighting in college, and that hasn’t become a Saturday night on a payday weekend in Muskogee (thank you for all that you are, Jim Ross). Is it because of the full face-shields? Or is it just because fighting doesn’t really police anything?

We have no idea what would happen if fighting wasn’t around. We can guess. We can speculate. But we have no idea. And no one ever seems to mention that it is possible that one day fighting will be banned, and if the game does turn into basically a riot, the ban could be lifted.

Burke only briefly addresses the safety issue, and correctly points out that boarding hits or headshots are more dangerous than fighting. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to eliminate or tamp down the less dangerous aspects of the game. Just because it’s not doing the most amount of damage to players doesn’t mean it isn’t doing any.

Burke also talks about players inside and outside “the code,” which is a term I’m really starting to get sick of. But the code won’t exactly disappear if fighting does. There will still be, or there should be, a respect for your fellow athlete. You don’t need fighting for that. Most players now are not out to hurt anyone. That won’t change if fighting goes. And there will still be those who want to. Just as there is now.

It’s all a guess, and without sufficient data or proof, it’s an argument we really shouldn’t accept any more.

-I mentioned this on Twitter, but just wanted to state it here as well. Though we’ve taken some shots (all in fun) and WSCR 670 host Dan McNeill and his hockey thoughts, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been my friend and supporter for 20 years now. A lot of the paths I’ve gone down in life were set up by Dan, and I can’t thank him enough for it. While I have no idea what’s going on with him now and it really could be anything, I want to say that he has my full support and sympathy.

  • TheRealBBOX

    So I take it you feel Bobby Hull shouldn’t be a Blackhawks ambassador then?

    • Mothman405

      Absolutely not. They’ve been pretty vocal against him being one too

    • Waylon

      he really shouldn’t be an ambassador – not only a mean drunk, but a mean drunk who beat up the women in his life.

    • Hags

      the guys here at TCI (and decent human beings everywhere) have been against it for a long time. He was great hockey player, but people who beat women (even if it was a long time ago) shouldn’t be held up as an acceptable role model and ambassador, period.

      • rkeign

        Yeah, but how about if their record in goal is 7-1 in games started this year?

    • MattC86

      Look at the “Hawks Record When” bit in the print CI issues. Something in there about “Nazi-sympathizing wife-beater runs drunk around the UC as a “legend” and “ambassador.”

    • Hawkeytalk

      Yes, and the statue aggravates me too. Yes, Bobby Hull was a fantastic, magical, heroic hockey player who beat his wife. That Iast bit trumps every part of the rest of the sentence.

    • 10thMountainFire

      He’s no Mikita. Around here, you will never hear anyone claim Hull measures up to Stosh, Savvy, Tony O, et al.

    • 815Sox

      Generally, when your own son hates you it is a pretty strong signal that you are an asshole.

  • birdhead

    Thanks Fels. Much appreciated.

  • berkley

    Sam I’m glad you’re touching on these issues. Too many sites say things like “this isn’t the forum for that.”

  • Oregon_hawk

    The treatment of this issue in sports doesn’t differ too much from that in US society at large.

    Victims are blamed, consequences are down-played, and rape is normalized.

    I live 15 minutes from a town in missouri in which that girl was raped, run out of town, and her house burned down.

    Basically, it is every new generation’s responsibility to fix this. Educate your kids, and if you see something, say something.

  • Matt

    Nice article, and I don’t disagree, but why can’t it just be against all crimes? Domestic abuse is terrible. So is assault, rape, murder, drug use (especially while driving), etc. Just put a standard penalty in place for all lawbreakers.

    We also just simply live in a world of cognitive dissonance when it comes to sports. You have assholes and felons playing for your team, and boom, it just happens to become a “necessary evil” to root for the guy.

    Not trying to place one crime ahead of another’s here. Just saying the scope is large and broad.

    • 334Rules

      Exactly. If the average Joe gets arrested, he gets fired. He doesn’t have a job to come back to. Oh, maybe if he gets exonerated and he’s a valuable enough component and his employer hasn’t replaced him, etc etc, he might get his job back. The CBA would have to be changed, of course, and I know there are deeper problems with that tack, but dammit, these guys ARE role models, regardless of what they or someone else might wish. And in addition, they’re walking billboards for their sport, their franchise and for the city in which they play. Higher standard? For the money they get, damn right.

      • VanDorp’sMullet

        To me, we don’t even have to walk down the “role model” trail. If you don’t punish these kinds of crimes, you are silently/passively condoning it. Pure and simple.

    • Waylon

      once Ray Lewis was “rehabilitated” and was held out as some kind of moral example during last year’s Super Bowl, I pretty much gave up on the NFL ever coming to it’s senses. I don’t care about all of his acts of generosity after the trial – it would’ve had a lot more meaning if he had retired immediately and then done his charitable work under the radar.

      • MattC86

        This is why the Vick thing was so aggravating. He got a chance at “redemption” because he’s Michael Vick. If it were you or I, we’d be struggling to get a job at a fucking 7-11. You can be put on a sex offender registry in this country for life based on a public urination charge, and probably never get a real shot at a decent life, but if you can play a sport, you’ll be back out there in no time even after a REAL sex offense. It’s completely fucking warped.

        And I’m with “Why” above. My personal opinion right now is that Varly is a subhuman shithead who in a different era would be facing the business end of a Derringer in an honor duel.

        But more importantly, my staunch, overriding belief is that he deserves due process of law and not just summary decision-making, whether by the league, the US legal system, or by society as a whole. We happily hang everybody in the court of public opinion the minute they are arrested, when really, we owe everybody – no matter how personally distasteful the crime – fairness and justice.

        • Waylon

          this is my point as well, but apparently not everyone agrees with it.

          • MattC86

            I saw two people with “W” leading off their handles said similar things. The lower one was “Why,” you were the top one. Sorry for taking away the credit :)

          • Waylon

            no worries – but the discussion is already getting way too heated, so I’m going to abstain. I hate it when I come to a sports blog and allow myself to get dragged into conversations like this – it’s my own fault.

        • 10thMountainFire

          For me, it’s why I didn’t apologize for really, really liking Mark Buehrle’s public comments about wishing injury on Vick. I felt the same way. Buehrle just went public and was honest. He got the proverbial backlash for it. That was unfortunate because he simply stated what a lot of us felt… that Vick got away with heinous crimes because at the end of it, he came back to make millions again.

      • chichicagochi

        lol okay, just lock him away for 60yrs. Why can’t people rehab and reform their ways?

  • laaarmer

    I try to stay out of these discussions, but I was told as a young kid
    that a boy never hits a girl. It’s a rule that cannot be broken. What kind of guy hits a girl? Or a kid for that matter?

    • VanDorp’sMullet

      A total fuckwad.

      • laaarmer

        Sorry, I edeited, but I now will explain that you answered the question, what kind of guy hits a woman? Or kid for that matter?

    • 815Sox

      Very true, and for the record, women can be perpetrators of Domestic Violence as well.

      Nothing makes me cringe more then when one of my students jokes about beating a loved one. I have even had them jokingly act it out.

  • Waylon

    I agree with the sentiments expressed above, but there’s also the flip side of what’s going on in many colleges these days, and that’s false rape allegations in order to punish innocent people. The Duke Lacrosse rape accusation and resulting witch hunt was one of the most egregious cases of academic and prosecutorial misconduct ever conducted against innocent students. As for the role model thing, I always thought Charles Barkley said it best in his famous Nike commercial.

    • berkley

      Chuck can talk for days about how he doesn’t want to be a role model, it doesn’t change the fact that millions of kids still see athletes that way

      • Waylon

        Agreed – but when reporters came up to him (unsolicited) and asked him questions, then gave him abuse when they didn’t like the answers, I think his point was made.

    • Why

      And that’s it. It’s the second paragraph of this article that scares me. If Semyon Varlamov kicked his girlfriend in the chest and then stomped on her, I’m going to have a hard time thinking much of Varlamov. But innocent until proven guilty isn’t something I just pay lip service to before dismissing the notion and demanding vengeance.

      I don’t have a clue what happened at Varlamov’s house. But I wouldn’t support a suspension at this juncture.

      • birdhead

        Reminder that innocent until proven guilty constitutes a legal right, not a social duty to speculate that victims are lying.

        • Why

          What are you driving at here? Is your view that if a person is accused, we should automatically believe the accuser?

          I’m not going to impugn the accuser here. But what I got from Sam’s article was “punishment first, find out facts after, then maybe more punishment”.

          • birdhead

            It is my view that if I’m not on the jury I don’t have to get on board with “innocent until proven guilty”.

          • laaarmer

            You live here, I assume, so you are on board with it.

          • birdhead

            You do understand that people who commit crimes are not always convicted of those crimes, right? If I steal something, but nobody sees me doing it and I never get convicted of it, I’m still a thief.

            I am on board with innocent until proven guilty as a vital legal principle. But a necessary consequence of it is that people who have committed crimes are unable to be convicted. “Innocent until proven guilty” doesn’t mean that I have to pretend that is not the case.

          • laaarmer

            So longs as you say it it is.

          • Waylon

            “I am altering the deal. Pray I don’t alter it any further.”

          • Why

            We’re talking about Varlamov in this article. An actual person. Your view appears to be that we should just assume he’s guilty because an accusation was made and we’re not on the jury. I think that’s morally reprehensible.

          • birdhead

            My view is that I think it’s disgusting the way as soon as an athlete is accused of domestic violence or sexual assault everyone comes out of the woodwork to talk about the presumption of innocence. To pick just a few news stories that have made their way around hockey blogs I follow, where is the presumption of innocence for Rob Ford? For football players using steroids? Where is the presumption of innocence for, oh … Matt Cooke or Raffi Torres? As soon as we see someone make a hit we feel as comfortable as hell speculating about what he was thinking, speculating about intent, speculating about guilt.

            Oh, but domestic violence – ssssh, guys. Let’s not speculate, guys. Innocent until proven guilty. The eagerness to talk about the presumption of innocence is crass and, en masse, the effect is not one of calm restraint but of a leaping to the defense of Varlamov; of a casting of doubt upon the victim and her character and credibility.

          • Why

            Bullshit.

            I didn’t post an article calling for a 40 game suspension for Varlamov. I’m responding to people that seem to think the presumption of innocence should be thrown out. The presumption of innocence is brought up because it is one of the most cherished rights people have and people are demanding that it be ignored. If it makes a witch hunt a little bit harder to pull off, I don’t feel the slightest bit sorry about that.

            And if you have a video of Varlamov stomping on his girlfriend or kicking her in the chest, I’d be more than happy to assume that the guy is guilty. But I don’t demand suspensions for PED’s because of an allegation. I don’t talk about Rob Ford on a hockey blog.

            You’re applying the Deadspin model of judging athletes (which I despise in all its forms). It’s normally a shitty way to do business and it’s even shittier when you’re talking about talking a person’s freedom or livelihood away.

          • Why

            Fair enough but I get the feeling that you’d be highly critical of a person who went “Varlamov’s girlfriend is probably lying.” Am I wrong?

            Over here, I want the facts first.

          • laaarmer

            No, it’s not fair enough. The sentiment stated by birdhead is everything that is wrong with the USA right now. “I don’t agree with it, therefore it doesn’t apply to me” It’s bullshit. The innocent until proven guilty is one of the most important rights we have here. Take it away and it’s Salem or Nazi Germany again.
            I saw birdhead practicing witchcraft!

          • Waylon

            you see this all the time now – mob rule and mob opinion are all that counts. People use it to punish someone who hasn’t done anything wrong, just someone they don’t happen to like or agree with.

          • laaarmer

            Did you see birdhead too? He’s a witch

          • birdhead

            Do you understand the difference between legal rights and social obligations?

            I am legally entitled to be a huge fuckin’ douchebag. That doesn’t mean anyone has a duty to be friends with me. Get it?

          • laaarmer

            I get it, witch, but you are still obligated because you live here, I assume, to follow the innocent until proven guilty process. If you are above this and you feel that your opinions are above the law, than get the fuck out. I’ll help you pack.
            Get it?

          • birdhead

            Dude, I’m not on his fucking jury! I’m so confused. Are you seriously saying that it’s illegal for me to speculate about someone’s guilt? Is this where I’m supposed to start yelling about freedom of speech or something?

            but it’s OK, I get it, I’m a cancer on Western nations. Meanwhile, did you make a Rob Ford crack smoking joke today? I hope you didn’t. Innocent until proven guilty, you know.

          • 10thMountainFire

            I am also a cancer. But more at TCI.

          • mad-hatter

            You’re a benign cancer, though.

          • 10thMountainFire

            Well, if you gotta be a cancer, I guess that’s the one to be.

          • lizmcneill

            So it’s not okay to speculate that Varlamov is, in fact, guilty of the crimes he’s been charged with, but speculating that the woman is lying/committing perjury is a-ok?

          • Why

            Please find someone speculating that the women is lying rather than merely acknowledging the possibility. I have no doubt that some people have that sentiment, and I’m not supporting them. But the only people assuming anything on this board are the people assuming Varlamov is guilty.

          • birdhead

            What’s the difference between “speculating” and “acknowledging as a possibility”?

            In addition, I’m pretty sure that at no point in this conversation have I or Liz or anyone else explicitly assumed Varlamov’s guilt. the strongest thing I have said is that statistically his girlfriend is unlikely to be lying. That is not all that strong.

          • Why

            You haven’t said it explicitly but you’ve been quite critical of people who have said we shouldn’t assume Varlamov’s guilt. I think it’s pretty clear what you’re implying.

          • birdhead

            And I think it’s pretty clear what is implied when people’s first instincts in hearing about a case like this is not “God, how awful” but “PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE!!!!!”

          • Why

            How dare people want basic rights to be respected.

          • birdhead

            The presumption of innocence is a (very important!) right in the courts, not a right to insist nobody says anything bad about you on the internet.

          • Why

            And why do the courts grant that right? You’re almost there now.

          • birdhead

            Because it’s more important that no innocent people go to jail than it is for every single guilty person to be convicted; because the legal system must be trustworthy (not that it is).

            A thing I am not: jail; the legal system.

          • Why

            So it’s cool to ruin peoples’ lives over allegations so long as they don’t go to jail?

          • birdhead

            Fels and I are ruining Varlamov’s life? Wow, I have superpowers I didn’t know I had.

          • Why

            He’s asking for a 40-80 game suspension. We’re lucky he doesn’t have any real power and is just stating an opinion, but what he’s suggesting should happen is to label Varlamov a wife beater and give him a long suspension.

          • ahnfire

            you realize that at this point, you’re not arguing for people to be “slow to judge” but for people to “stop having this opinion I don’t agree with”?

            You can disagree with them without this entirely long comment thread about how they need to stop thinking what they think.

          • Why

            I’m arguing that people should be “slow to judge” and when they’re not, I’m calling them out for it. People are literally stating that we should assume the man is guilty.

            We’re talking about a fundamental principle of justice. Yep, my dander is up a bit here. But it’s a little surprising that I’m the one you chose to make this comment to when you can find other examples of comments that have very clearly stated that the viewpoint that is closer to mine shouldn’t be aired.

          • birdhead

            People are literally stating that we should assume the man is guilty.

            Where?

          • Why

            What is a 40-80 game suspension other than an assumption of guilt?

            You’ve flat out stated that you don’t think people should bring up the presumption of innocence.

          • birdhead

            Maybe that’s just acknowledging the possibility.

          • Why

            Sam’s clarified his position so I’d like to point out I’m not disagreeing with him, I’m disagreeing with giving Varlamov a 40-80 game suspension right now.

            But jumping right to the punishment stage before getting the facts is something much, much stronger than acknowledging a possibility.

          • 10thMountainFire

            What about for an accusation of a second offense when he was convicted prior? Would you go with a suspension based on the accusation then or would you still wait?

          • Why

            I’d have a hard time agreeing there. If you want to nail him on the first offence, you nail him on the first offence and not on the second accusation.

            But I’m happy to consider previous history along with all of the other facts once we have those.

          • 10thMountainFire

            I would differ. I think on a second accusation, you suspend him immediately until the court renders a verdict.

          • Why

            I’m worried about how easy it would be to essentially blackmail a player if that were the standard.

          • birdhead

            it’s weird how you become easy to blackmail when you do things that are wrong.

          • birdhead

            OK. Any other examples of people literally advocating for assuming his guilt? I assume there must be lots, since there are so many people arguing for assuming his innocence (and, therefore, logically, that his girlfriend is a liar).

          • SamFels

            If I may here, I should have gone into more detail. Based upon the victim’s tweets/comments that came out today, this does not sound like the first time this has happened. And I should have stated more clearly that only if he’s convicted or there is a plea or settlement should there be a suspension.

          • Why

            Fair point and thanks for clarifying. It’s hard to be the first person over the wall on these things.

            And I’m fully behind your second sentence. I’ve got no objection to that. Presumption of innocence doesn’t apply if and once he’s found guilty.

          • Waylon

            Thank you – if he’s convicted then throw the book at him. If there’s some kind of settlement later on, then I have no idea what they should do.

          • Joe Banks

            Much more better.

          • ahnfire

            Well, your comment was the latest one that popped up on my page, so that’s just timing.

          • Why

            Thanks for clarifying. Persecution complex correctly called out and noted.

          • Waylon

            I think what he’s trying to say is that emotion is ruling the day on some of these postings, rather than trying to deal with what we know right now regarding the situation. I don’t see what’s unreasonable about that position.

          • ahnfire

            What we know right now: Varlamov is accused of beating and kidnapping his girlfriend. He turned himself in and was arrested on these charges.

            This entire thread is basically people saying which side they’re going to emphasize with until a verdict is rendered. However, my read of this thread is one side trying to convince the other side to not feel the way they do.

          • Waylon

            I don’t emphasize at all with Varlamov (not to be argumentative with you, honestly) – but the rush to judgement on either side will always trouble me.

          • ahnfire

            I meant empathize, not emphasize (I edited my comment).

            Personally, I think you’re being idealistic to claim that you’re not making a judgment of sort. The only way to not make a judgment while in a comment section is to simply not write anything. ;P

          • Waylon

            I’m not sure I’m being idealistic to have no earthly idea what happened between the two individuals – although I’d agree that right now it doesn’t look too good for Varlamov. But it does appear that too often these days we tend to judge by proxy of our passions, but yeah, I guess that’s a judgement right there.

          • birdhead

            You and I both know that what will actually happen to Varlamov, whether or not he did anything, is nothing. At most he’ll lose some money. So I find it hard to be too concerned about what Fels writes on a blog. I actually find it refreshing that, for a change, a sports blog is calling for a refusal to tolerate sexual violence, as opposed to refusing to do anything other than support abusers.

          • steeg of their own

            Frankly, you got personal really fast here, Laarms. Calling someone ‘witch’ is very touchy in this situation, and the whole “if you think your opinions about the law are better than my opinions about the law, GTFO”… Not cool. At all. Makes you look sort of petty, actually.

            I personally think that Bird is right. Given that this is an online forum and not anyone sitting on a jury, I can say things like “Laarmer, you can GTFO with your judgment of opinions, and I’ll help you pack,” because my opinion does not actually matter. It’s actually only the court system that is required to assume innocence, and people who can read news stories that say goalies abused their girlfriends on previous occasions can absorb things like “this isn’t the first time he’s done this” or “there’s photographic documentation of further abuse”. The court system is actually required not to recognize these sorts of things. Presumption of innocence is very much a precept of the justice system. But it’s not something that an educated public is required to provide to any person upon whom they have an opinion. Especially if there is outside evidence that the person may be a documented abuser. I don’t feel obliged to give any person the benefit of the doubt in the court of my own opinion.

            So if you could not be derogatory towards other people expressing the same thing as you (an opinion) that would be fabulous.

          • Why

            Before I start caring about this, it has to be applied to people that agree with you and disagree with you.

            To me, it was pretty obvious what Laarmer was driving at. Assuming allegations are true is a terrible way to judge credibility. Famous examples are witch hunts, including the Salem witch trials. That’s the reference and it seemed pretty obvious.

          • steeg of their own

            To me, it seemed that Laarms was saying that anyone who lived in America (he said “you are still obligated because you live here, I assume”) was obligated to follow a precept of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ much as an American court was so obligated. I asserted that a person can form an opinion based on personal experience, anecdotal experience, or evidence that a court might not admit (such as evidence of previous domestic abuse, which actually isn’t admissible on current domestic abuse charges). Courts may not accept this evidence, but that doesn’t mean that a curious public cannot use such evidence to form opinions, and it doesn’t make such opinions invalid.

            If you think the Salem witch hunts are the most obvious reference when someone throws up a sentiment like “witch, your opinions don’t even matter please leave”, please look into the context of witches, transgressive women across multiple platforms of conversation, and the trend of using the word ‘witch’ as a replacement for the word ‘bitch’ as a derogatory.

          • Why

            No one said “witch, your opinions don’t matter, please leave.” Laarmer said “I saw you practising witchcraft” to a person who had poo-pooed the presumption of innocence.

            Context matters.

          • birdhead

            You are not wrong. (Because statistically speaking, she’s very unlikely to be lying.)

            The facts are never going to come out. I’ll be extremely surprised if Varlamov is convicted. He’ll pay her off, and she’ll go away, and we’ll keep kidding ourselves that athletes never take advantage of their wealth and fame. But in the meantime, I would rather give an allegedly abused woman my compassion, and later find out she was lying, than give an accused abuser that compassion, and later find out I have given succor to a wifebeater.

          • Waylon

            if she gets “paid off,” then that says quite a bit about her credibility IMHO.

          • mad-hatter

            And this comment says a lot about you, IMHO.

          • Waylon

            and you as well – want to keep playing?

          • Waylon

            I’ll just add that it’s true that the quality of legal representation in this country depends mightily on how much money you have, and if you’re a celebrity you have additional advantages that you or I do not possess.

          • mad-hatter

            Sure, but also consider that rape and domestic violence victims will more often choose to settle or drop charges than go to court because of how often they’re own image is called into question, like their sexual history and financial status, and the men who harmed them are painted in a sympathetic light. So because she’d rather take the money than deal with Russian reporters and sports journalists sympathizing with Varlamov and calling and painting as a money-hungry, lying slut does not undermine her as a person.

          • Waylon

            no question that previous trials of rape victims in earlier decades has been horrendous, and has led to feelings of shame and guilt being visited on the victims themselves, allowing rapists to get off scott – free.

          • birdhead

            The Steubenville case was this year.

          • Waylon

            yes, and the Duke case was less than a few years ago. I should’t have used the word “decades” for the past tense – I agree it’s still going on today.

          • steeg of their own

            “Earlier decades” is bullshit. This stuff happens every day. Example from this year that made news: http://articles.latimes.com/2013/aug/28/nation/la-na-montana-judge-20130829

            I know of another example from my personal circle of female friends within the last year of a woman who was raped and reported it, then basically got laughed out of court, even though she had a rape kit on her side. I know of three other female friends who were raped and didn’t report it, because there really is no point. Don’t fool yourself that this is out of the norm in the very present day.

          • Why

            Wait, the accused’s lawyer will try and paint him in a sympathetic light. Do you consider that a bad thing?

          • mad-hatter

            No, I’m saying that the media will say make the accused rapist out to be a martyr; that the trial is a struggle they must overcome, and wondering how they’ll cope with it. Even when they’re convicted, they’re made out to be victims themselves. Like the Steubenville case earlier this year. There was a lot of weeping over how these two boys had such promising futures and their ill fortune.

          • Why

            Wait a second, you thought the media made the Steubenville rapists out to be martyrs? Which media are you reading?

          • mad-hatter
          • Why

            Those are very, very biased sources that you’re linking to.

          • mad-hatter

            So their direct quotes from the NBC, ABC, CNN, AP, USA Today, and Yahoo News should just be thrown out the window?

          • Why

            The direct quote that said they were “promising athletes?” Or the one that noted that the football team was the “pride of” the town? Those are only offensive if you believe demonization is more important than truth.

          • mad-hatter

            You don’t find anything the least bit wrong about CNN saying “it was incredibly difficult…to watch what happened as these two young men with such promising futures…literally watch as their lives fall apart” instead of “a young girl received justice for being raped,” or that ABC tried to excuse the rapists actions because they were “in a celebratory mood”? These two young men made a decision to rape a barely coherent drunk girl and the media could only wonder how something this tragic could happen to such nice young men.

          • Why

            ABC tried to “excuse” the actions? Those things they are reporting are facts. They may not be convenient facts but that’s still what they are.

          • mad-hatter

            It does not matter what mood they were in, how beloved they were in the town, what kind of future they might have had, or how fucking tragic it is that they’re now registered sex offenders and have to serve time in a juvenile detention center; these things should never have been a part of the narrative. The narrative should have been about how deplorable it is for anyone to take advantage of a drunk girl (or person), how these boys brought this upon themselves, that rape and not social media is a crime and inexcusable. I don’t fucking care that they were straight A students or captains on a high school football team. They violated a young girl.

          • Why

            And that narrative didn’t happen? ABC gave everyone the facts (from the little bit I’ve read at your very biased sources). That’s their job.

          • mad-hatter

            Did you read the quotes? Watch the clips? That narrative did happen! All anyone could write about was how sad it was that these boys were convicted, that their life fell around them and they’ll never be the same, that they had a terrible tragedy happen to them, and look at them crying see, their really good quotes. Their job is not to make rapists look like good people.

          • mad-hatter

            Here’s a youtube video that contains some of the clips that you can watch yourself and ignore the commentary if you want:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmfGOdCyM5U

          • birdhead

            The judge involved in the case said that it was a lesson of the dangers of social media. Social media is the only reason these guys were ever convicted.

          • Why

            And I think it says positive things.

          • mad-hatter

            It says positive things that he would question a woman’s credibility because she doesn’t want to be called a manipulative liar in Russian and Denver papers and would rather just move on from her life?

          • Why

            Excuse me? Waylon said or wrote that? When?

          • mad-hatter

            Uh, Waylon did in response to birdhead up above about how the case might continue:

            if she gets “paid off,” then that says quite a bit about her credibility IMHO.

          • Why

            That’s a very twisted way of interpreting those words. They’re both speculating about something that hasn’t happened yet.

          • mad-hatter

            What else could Waylon have been suggesting other than the girlfriend is greedy if the case does get settled out of court?

          • Why

            That a person is more credible when they go to court and face the accused than when they choose not to.

          • Waylon

            thank you for clarifying my earlier point.

          • mad-hatter

            Yeah, because she’s such a shitty person to not want to be insulted and attacked by Russian media for ruining the team’s Olympic chances, or by Denver fans for ruining the Avs chances, or the general public for wanting to slander a famous person and get his money.
            Sooooo shitty.

          • Why

            I mean I suppose I could point out that I’ve never called hypothetical accuser who recants her statement after being given a cash settlement a shitty person. I could also start making up things that other people are saying because it’s easier to argue with a person I’ve made up. I think I’ll do the first thing.

          • ahnfire

            Uhm, to be fair to mad-hatter, these are things that have been said about her already. For example, here’s Islanders prospect Kirill Kabanov: http://twitpic.com/dji9ij

          • birdhead

            Charming.

          • Why

            I expect responses to me to be aimed at things said here or said by me. I have a hard time believing her comment was aimed at Kirill Kabanov.

          • ahnfire

            As someone who works within the court system, I think you may have a highly idealistic view of what it’s like for a victim to face their attacker.

          • Why

            Nothing idealistic about it. It’s hard to face someone who committed a heinous crime against you. You are more credible if you do.

          • ahnfire

            It also shows a lack of empathy toward the victim and what’s best for them – oftentimes, it’s not to be in the presence of their abuser.

          • Waylon

            I thought that the courts had evolved on that one – allowing the victims to testify but not face the accused.

          • ahnfire

            yes, but that’s not what Why is asking for.

          • Why

            I’m not advocating throwing people that make unproveable accusations in jail. But Varlamov has a reputation too and that has to be balanced unless empathy is only something you give to people you like.

          • ahnfire

            Ok, I don’t understand your comment? I don’t think I was advocating throwing people making unprovable accusations in jail.

            I think the fault is mine because I wasn’t clear about my comment about empathy. To clarify – I think your comment about being more credible if you face your attacker shows a lack of empathy toward the victim.

          • Why

            We’re going to disagree here. A person should have the right to confront their accuser with vigorous cross examination, especially when jail time is involved. I think your comment shows a lack of empathy to hypothetical accused innocent people.

            And I should have been clearer as well. I don’t mind if an agent of the accused (a lawyer) is allowed to confront the accuser. But that has to happen if we care at all about keeping innocent people out of jail.

          • ahnfire

            Oh, I agree with a lawyer for the accused being allowed to exercise the 6th Amendment right to confront & cross-examine the accuser.

            I personally disagree with requiring a DV victim to physically face their (alleged) attacker in court in order to give them credibility.

          • Why

            They’d have more if they did but I think I basically agree with you here. Perfect credibility and enough believability are two different standards.

          • Z-man19

            Let’s get real here, a company has wronged you somehow but you don’t have enough proof to assure a win in court. They offer you a settlement for a nice sum of $, you are less of a person for doing so?

          • Why

            Less credible with regards to that particular allegation. Yes.

          • Z-man19

            Huh?

          • Why

            Picture two people. One goes to court to try and prove their allegation, one doesn’t. Who do you think is more credible?

            I’m not calling people that take settlements liars. Sometimes you have to sacrifice a bit of idealism and reputation because it’s the better move for you. But facing the person you accuse requires a lot of guts and the people that do that tend to have their accusations more credibility.

            That’s particularly true with regards to a criminal charge as opposed to a civil charge.

          • Z-man19

            That’s an insane way of looking at it. If I don’t think I can win and the other side is offering cash, I’m taking the money. You’re being naive if you think I’m less credible because I did so. What’s it say about the accused that they agree to settle, instead of defend themselves in court?

          • Why

            It hurts their credibility as well. But the accused gets the benefit of the doubt.

          • Z-man19

            So if two sides agree to settle, you would tend to think that the accuser was just in it for a cash grab and the accused likely didn’t do anything wrong?

          • Why

            I try not to make judgments about accusers. The goal of a criminal trial is to judge the alleged criminal, not the alleged victim.

            But what option are you suggesting? Believe the person is guilty even though it’s never been proven?

          • Z-man19

            I would think you put the same onus on the accused as you have the accuser. If the accused is not guilty, why would they settle? They are in the right and should feel confident in going to a jury.
            I guess my point would be, why would the two parties agreeing to settle out of court, change your opinion of the situation in any way? There are a lot of reasons to not like lawyers, but they aren’t dumb. They know when the can win and when they can’t, despite what the truth may be. You are no closer to knowing the truth than when the accusations first came out.

          • Why

            In a criminal trial or with criminal allegations? There is no way in hell I would ever put the same onus on the accuser and the accused for precisely the same reasons I talked about above.

          • Z-man19

            but you would allow yourself to alter your opinion on the situation if the two parties agreed to settle out of court? Again, I say that is absurd, you won’t know any more about the case than you did when an arrest was made.

          • Why

            Something’s going to happen. Either the person will be tried or they won’t be. Looking at new facts as they are presented and altering your opinion accordingly used to be called “looking at facts”.

          • Z-man19

            what facts? Why would you trust whatever information comes out once a settlement is reached? Neither individual is under oath and it’s all about damage control, especially for a celebrity that may be involved.

            You said if someone settles out of court, that doesn’t look good in your mind. Did I get that wrong? If not, I think that is crazy. You know no more about the truth after the settlement than you did before it. If the girlfriend decides to settle, that doesn’t mean she wasn’t abused. What it may mean is either she didn’t want to put herself through the many months of going to court and her personal life being all over the paper, or the prosecutor didn’t think he had enough evidence to get a conviction and she decided to get what she could. There is also the chance that nothing happened, but I don’t think you can make a judgement either way just because one side decided to settle out of court.

          • Why

            Whether a person settles or not is a fact. Is it conclusive on guilt or innocence? Of course not, and I think you’ve done a pretty job of explaining why not. But all things being equal, in a criminal case, a hypothetical person is more credible on a specific charge if they take the matter to trial rather than settle it out of court.

          • Waylon

            my mother worked for the Kane County Court system in the domestic part of the caseloads, and she hated it for that very reason – too many of the abused would not come forward out of fear (which was often justtified).

          • birdhead

            Right, because going through courts is awesome fun for victims of domestic violence, and they are never pressured to drop the suit, and only liars would think, fuck, let’s just get it over with.

          • Waylon

            I’m not sure this situation is a case of one person being financially destitute, which I agree can enter into the equation. Again, I have no idea about the facts of this case, but the speculation is just that at this point – speculation. I don’t believe in hanging someone via public opinion, the guy may be guilty an a huge scumbag, but I have no idea right now.

          • lizmcneill

            It might not be a matter of being paid off. The Russian media are already saying it’s a plot to affect their Olympic team. I think she would receive pressure from that direction to recant her accusations.

          • Waylon

            the Russian media is still Pravda in most respects. As for hockey, they still think the CIA was in on some sort of conspiracy when the US Olympic team beat the Russians back in the 70′s. I’ve met emigre’s from Russia who still believe this today.

          • Why

            Fuck the Russian media. I’m fully behind you on this one.

          • 10thMountainFire

            There is no real Russian media that does not have the tentacles of the Kremlin attached now. It’s sad. I agree with liz and you both on this.

          • Waylon

            the KGB and the Russian mob killed off the investigative journalists there awhile ago.

          • 10thMountainFire

            More truth than the public even realizes. Well said.

          • Waylon

            and most of the citizenry there thinks Putin is a god. Anyone who thinks his henchmen didn’t murder the KGB defector in London apparently never heard of what happened to the leader of the Ukraine, either.

          • 10thMountainFire

            There is a significant minority. There won’t be any ‘spring’ anytime soon but there’s a building discontentment with the Russian government and its leader.

          • Why

            Wow. Varlamov and his girlfriend are not a statistics first, people second. I want the facts first.

          • desiright

            That last sentence really sums it up beautifully. Who deserves the compassion/benefit of the doubt? Who is most harmed by not having it? In most cases (not all, no statement is absolute) it’s going to be the victim who’s stepping forward, not the rich athlete/politician/etc..

          • Why

            I think your way creates a new monster. If we assume all allegations against athletes are true, we’re going to create circumstances where it’s really, really easy to blackmail athletes.

          • berkley

            I’m sort of confused as to where this suggestion of “girlfriend as liar” originated in this thread– and this isn’t directed solely at you Why, plus it is boiling down a lot of everyone’s thoughts into one generalized statement;

            But isn’t Varlamov turning himself in a pretty direct indicator of culpability in the crime?

          • The Doctor

            No…there’s a warrant for his arrest. If he doesn’t cooperate, he gets into more shit. Why would anyone want that? Not saying he’s innocent, but you don’t run when the cops come after you, one way or the other.

          • Why

            Wouldn’t you be more likely to run from a warrant if you were guilty? Not saying it’s a good move either way, but I’m not sure what the argument would be here. Hypothetical people who are falsely accused should hole up in a secret location and begin working to clear their name? Just because it ended up working for Harrison Ford doesn’t make it a good idea.

          • rkeign

            I think this is more along the lines of “if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and SMELLS like a duck, then it’s probably a duck.”

        • Waylon

          wait a minute – are you suggesting that public outrage should be encouraged before evidence is admitted, which could lead to tainting a future jury pool?

    • mad-hatter
      • Why

        In the studies you’ve linked, how is the 2 to 8% calculated?

        • mad-hatter

          Depends on the study: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_rape_accusations#Estimates_of_the_prevalence_of_false_accusations
          http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/research/perverting_course_of_justice_march_2013.pdf
          Sometimes charges are simply dropped, others they are provably false, and for others there isn’t enough evidence to make a case. All of these get swept under the false allegations category, when really only a few of them are cases of a woman crying wolf.

          • Waylon

            let’s take your evidence at face value, then (which is a big if) – what is to be done about the false charges and at times false imprisonment? And let’s take it a step further – what about the false charges being perpertrated in order to achieve custody of children?

          • mad-hatter

            It’s really not a big if, thanks. And what do you mean what should be done? Clearly these things should be evaluated more closely on both ends of the spectrum, but the amount of individuals who are convicted on false charges is considerably less than the amount of those who are acquitted even with supporting evidence.

          • Waylon

            see my response below – I don’t believe in hanging anyone via a court of public opinion – period.

          • mad-hatter

            And that has to apply to both parties in a law suit, not just Varlamov.

          • Waylon

            agreed.

          • Why

            Absolutely. But is anyone here demanding that Varlamov’s girlfriend be assumed to be lying? All I’ve seen is that other people, like me, want the facts first.

          • mad-hatter

            You can want the facts first without saying, “BUT FALSE ACCUSATIONS!!!” which, yeah, sounds a lot like calling Varlamov’s girlfriend a liar.

          • Why

            And that’s why I’m very, very critical of the viewpoint I see here. I’m not demanding Varlamov’s (ex?)girlfriend get fired from her job, suspended or thrown in jail because I acknowledge I don’t have the facts. But I see a lot of people calling for that for Varlamov. And merely acknowledging that appears to be taken as “THAT BITCH IS A LYING SLUT.” No one has said that. You’re tilting at windmills.

            False accusations are possible for all crimes. I’ve got no desire to call a specific person a liar without knowing the facts. So I haven’t done that.

          • Why

            Which is kind of the problem. Rape is tough to prove. False allegations of rape are difficult to prove. I don’t think we have a really firm grasp on those numbers.

          • mad-hatter

            Rape is difficult to prove with how it is legally defined and how it is investigated, which is why it has a one in 13 conviction rate, and even lower propensity to even make it to court. But what, you’re saying that the number would jump from 2% (if it even is that high) to 25%? 30%? False allegations aren’t an epidemic.

          • Why

            I don’t know what the number of false allegations would be but I’m very, very sceptical of the 2% number. In situations where I’ve seen that number cited, 2% has been the number of allegations that are demonstrably false. That’s a minimum number.

          • lizmcneill

            And the number of rape/sexual assault convictions would also be a minimum number, right?

          • Why

            The short answer is yes. I’d be very hopeful that people aren’t being sent to jail when there’s reasonable doubt as to their guilt.

    • Slain

      I just graduated from Marquette University and have seen how this situation works within a university. While many are unaware of this our, basketball team had an issue related to this about two years ago.
      On Halloween weekend, a female student was assaulted. If rumors hold true, there were multiple players taking part. (Thankfully, two other players were willing to bust down the door and stop the situation) The school newspaper found out about the situation immediately after and they were not asked to publish anything. This was the start of the college basketball season. The story did not break until the week after we made it to the Sweet Sixteen.
      This was a situation of the University (specifically the AD) covering up a situation that would have seriously hurt the university. This situation never made national news. The players involved were quietly asked to leave after the season was over.There were no NCAA sanctions and no on involved was arrested. Even the Board of Trustees did not find out about the situation until May. This is a classic example of the almighty dollar being more important than teaching young men how to treat women. As a female, I am disgusted by how this situation and so many more like it have been handled. Like Sam said, until someone is willing to do something about it in professional sports, these guys are going to continue to get away with it. It needs to change.

      • desiright

        I saw this comment and could only shake my head. I’m a Marquette grad (2004) and we had the exact same issues then (although it wasn’t specific to the sports team, there were cases of victims being systematically “encouraged” not to move forward with official charges via various channels, including campus police, Res Hall chaplains, etc.). It was pretty well known in the student body that the reported sexual assault rate was way too low. At least the campus paper is picking it up.

        • Slain

          If you really want to see how awesome MU athletics are look up what is happening with the LAX team currently

      • 10thMountainFire

        Taking this in a bit different direction, I can provide some context for why I agree with you on your final paragraph.

        Much of my study is on public policy, specifically in the IR field. So quite a bit of my days are spent digesting and assessing events abroad. One of the more noted patterns in the past year has been the publicizing of the rape problem in India. In approaching the problem, most people point to societal norms and behaviors in a way to either excuse or otherwise claim ‘purposes’ for the rape occurrences. So as we move towards a solution to the problem, for me that includes swift justice; in this, the rape issue can, in my opinion, be significantly reduced with swift and unmistakably rigid/hard deployment of sentencing, to include the death penalty. That is where the problem arises in places like India, Pakistan, Africa, Russia, and many parts of the US; lack of unmistakable administering of justic in the form of harsh sentences. That’s when the deterrent works.

    • shinkicker

      I think the bigger misconduct was to Lizzy Seeberg, but that’s just me.

  • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

    “If the biggest argument against the use of PEDs is that we want to send the message to kids that it’s not ok, then why aren’t we doing the same about a much worse crime?”

    A-fucking-men for asking the question.

    And we all know the answer starts with a dollar sign…. :(

  • 1benmenno

    Re Brian Burke and “self-policing”: I mentioned awhile ago the irony that Canadians–you know, the guys that enshrined “peace, order, and good government” as their slogan–also lay claim to the only major sport that enshrines vigilantism as traditional and necessary.

    This short doc suggests that the issue of violence in hockey stems from masculine insecurity. You don’t have to agree; but you might find it interesting, if only because it starts with a takedown of Bobby Clarke. It’s called “Valery’s Ankle”: http://vimeo.com/63041317

    • lizmcneill

      Maybe all Canadian aggression is channeled into hockey?

      How do you get the Canadian Army to attack?
      “The Taliban have the puck! Let’s go, boys, let’s go!”

      • 1benmenno

        Them’s fightin’ words, lizmcneill!

        • Z-man19

          I got a gumball saying Liz kicks your ass

      • Paul the Fossil

        “Anybody get the number of the asshole with that last hit?”
        “Yea soldier we did: it’s ALL OF THEM!!!”

    • Paul the Fossil

      Long since lost count of the conversations about the sport with Americans who aren’t hockey fans who, when the subject of fighting comes up as it always does, are dumbfounded to hear that it is the Canadian hockey fans/coaches/players/mediots that are the most staunch defenders of fighting. Sometimes they literally don’t believe it. When I point out that of our major team sports the only one that tolerates/celebrates fisticuffs is also the only one that is culturally Canadian in origin they have no idea what to make of that fact. It’s just a complete off-the-wall contradiction of the American (and for that matter global) image and understanding of Canada.

      • 1benmenno

        Re your last point: The image of the Canadian soldier as peace-keeper, invented in the 1950s (cf. Lester B. Pearson), has been eroding in recent years. My colleague Ian McKay has written a book about the growth of militaristic attitudes in Canada called “Warrior Nation.”

  • AMR

    I hope he gets sent to jail for as long as criminal code allows should he be convicted. I also hope that his girlfriend will not return to the relationship because if she continues this relationship her death is a very real outcome.

    • lizmcneill

      Sadly it can also be a real outcome after a woman has left an abusive relationship.

      • AMR

        That is an unfortunate reality in these situations

  • CornelisonsFlagPointer

    Sadly, this sort of thing is too common. One would think that the stigma attached to being the big guy who beats up girls alone would encourage you to separate yourself from the situation.

    It’s also a little sad that I wasn’t shocked to read the headline for this story in my newsfeed at work this morning:

    “According to Igor Ananskikh, a senior Russian parliamentarian, the arrest Wednesday night of Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov on charges of assault and kidnapping was merely a plot to prevent Russia from winning the gold medal in hockey at the Sochi Olympics.”

    http://nhl.si.com/2013/10/31/russian-official-semyon-varlamov-arrest-sabotage-ahead-of-olympics/

    • Why

      Fair enough. I very much doubt Igor Ananskikh is providing an honest assessment of the situation.

  • steeg of their own

    I hope the US protects this woman. It takes courage to report domestic violence at all, and reporting an incident of domestic violence by a well-known sports figure to foreign police when you don’t even have a work visa to stay in country must take extraordinary courage. Now that Duma officials have spoken out against her, I really hope that the US will do the right thing and offer her shelter, at least for the length of a trial.

    • lizmcneill

      In her statement she said she was afraid to return to Russia because she had received threats.

      http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_24425582/semyon-varlamov-arrest-colorado-avalanche-goaltender-has-court

      • Waylon

        I have no doubt that this is true – there is a lot of unmitigated anarchy going on over there, and it doesn’t look to be abating anytime soon.

        • 815Sox

          Russia has never been good at treating minorities, women and people whole are “different” well.

          Hell, it is illegal to be gay over there. That is fucked. Putin talks a good game occasionally, but the reality of the situation is Russia is just as authoritarian as it ever was, and it has even been waxing nostalgic about its Soviet past.

          Not saying its perfect here, far from it, but I am glad I live in a country where I can legally criticize what I do not like.

  • CozBullsFan

    So Varlamov is out on $5000 bail. Allowed to travel and has a restraining order against him. Per Twitter – https://twitter.com/ryanparkerdp/status/395955523591217152

    • Waylon

      I would hope that part of that allowed to travel thing doesn’t include any overseas trips. I could see him going to Sochi and never coming back to face the charges.

      • 10thMountainFire

        I think that’s likely, given the present environment of poor US-Russian relations.

        • rkeign

          Maybe we could get Snowden back in trade!

          • bizarrohairhelmet

            Better throw in Khabi to sweeten the pot.

          • 10thMountainFire

            I’ll pack his bags.

          • 1benmenno

            I’ll carry them to his dacha.

          • 10thMountainFire

            This.

  • chichicagochi

    Getting tired of people not understanding that Brandon Marshall had an untreated mental illness.

    • 10thMountainFire

      I side with mad-hatter, liz, ahn, and birdhead are saying below. But I have to say this about Brandon Marshall: lumping him in with other offenders sort of really doesn’t tell the whole story. Did he abuse his partner? Yes. Is that a serious crime? Yes. Did he deserve more punishment than he got from the league? In my opinion, yes. But here is where I diverge from the crowd that lumps him in with others: he owned his crime. (Yes, it was a crime). He was then diagnosed with a mental illness, he owned that, and he got and continues to get help. His affliction did not beat him. He turned his life around and, as far as I know, continues to make amends for his crime. For me, he has the potential to be a success story.

      What would really make his story more applicable is if he owned his domestic abuse and became a face of reformation. If he stepped out and spoke out as an offender, he would gain more credibility. But to this point, he appears to have changed his life. We should encourage that.

      You are right to point out the mental illness aspect of Brandon Marshall’s life in giving context to his domestic violence crime. I have seen people afflicted with severe mental illnesses refuse help and spiral out in their lives. It’s sad. Marshall could (and should) be a face for people seeking treatment for mental illnesses. He could be a role model for quite a few, I would wager.

      • VanDorp’sMullet

        Very well said.

        • 10thMountainFire

          I hope he’s eventually one of the success stories.

    • 815Sox

      How do you treat borderline personality disorder? PDs are notorious for being basically untreatable. We still do not even really know how they develop. You can give medication for certain aspects and CBT can help, but they do not really effect the core of the issue.

      Plenty of people with mental illnesses do not beat up loved ones. Its not an excuse. I do think it is great what he is doing now, I think this season is going to be a real test for him though. Season 2 is generally when he started to have issues.

  • 10thMountainFire

    I guess I’m in the minority but I always enjoyed Dan McNeill. He’s a bit of the big-personality Chicagoan and more genial than a lot of radio hosts.

    Dan Bernstein, on the other hand, is insufferable.

    • CornelisonsFlagPointer

      Maybe because I remember when he was just starting out in the biz as Coppock’s producer, and Dahl called him Rusty, but I like listening to McNeill too. His partner is the one that makes me change the station.
      I’m hoping for the best for Mac, too.

    • 815Sox

      Mac always seemed like a really good person. Someone I wouldn’t mind hanging out with. I do not mind listening to him at all. Speigs has even grown on me.

  • Joe Banks

    Wow. Just wow…
    I am dumbfounded by all these posts advocating a rush to judgement.
    I don’t know a damn thing about the Varlmov case, but I do know this. In thousands of homes all over the United States, there are serious problems brewing. Domestic abuse is verbal and physical, and often children are involved too.
    But it is not automatically the man who is the aggresor. There are men out there who have to sleep with one eye open every night too.
    So for god sakes, put the torches down and let the legal system handle this. Do not make unfounded accusations against anybody.
    I pray tonight for the ENTIRE Varlamov family. Husband, Wife, Girlfriend, children.
    I pray that all of them can find peace and happiness. I hope none of them need to live in fear anymore.

    • ahnfire

      No one has said that men can’t be abused, and it’s just as difficult for them to leave a DV situation. However, you’re talking about something completely different and the only effect of that will be to derail the conversation into something else.

      In this case, it’s Varlamov who has been arrested. The allegations are that he threw his girlfriend against the wall, kicked her while she was down, and dragged her by her hair. These are the factual allegations.

      • Joe Banks

        I’m done, sorry if I offended you. I fail to understand which conversation I have derailed, but I will leave that for another day.
        I will continue to pray for all involved.

        • ahnfire

          I’m not offended. I’m just pointing out that you came in and started talking about how men could also be the victims of DV, which had not come up at all.

          Your comment made it seem that you read through all the comments already made and instead of addressing any of the issues raised there, protested something no one was claiming. That is why I said you were derailing the conversation.

          • Why

            We again disagree.

            People here have been very clear about stating that we should believe Varlamov’s ex-girlfriend because of larger social trends. Other people that point out other trends are not derailing the issue. That’s particularly true when they’ve clearly stated that they don’t know what happened.

          • DontToewsMeBro

            I’m going to believe her, not because of larger social trends, but because of the bruises on her body… She has stated that this is not the first time this has happened, and the authority in other countries did nothing about it.

            And why would you even comment on the issue when you know nothing about the case?

    • birdhead

      This goes a level beyond the presumption of innocence and into presuming that Varlamov is the victim. That is frankly bizarre.

      It’s not automatically “the man” who is the abuser. (Gay men and lesbian women are also victims of domestic violence, by the way.) But in this case, it’s Varlamov’s partner with bruises on her side and arms…

      • Joe Banks

        Note: I stated: “I don’t know a damn thing about the Varlmov case” – where do you get that I ever stated Varlamov is the victim???

        • birdhead

          But it is not automatically the man who is the aggresor. There are men out there who have to sleep with one eye open every night too. So for god sakes, put the torches down and let the legal system handle this. Do not make unfounded accusations against anybody.

          “It’s not automatically the man who’s the aggressor, so stop making assumptions” really seems to imply to me that you think Varlamov might be the victim of abuse. If not, why bring it up?

  • doc

    I think guys who hit women are scum. Plain and simple.
    But this is somewhat different than the PED issue.
    PEDs impact the integrity of the on-ice product. Gambling on sports (with the risk of having thrown games) is that category too. One might argue substance abuse (including alcohol) falls into that category as well.
    Wife beating and other illegal activity is different in that it does not skew the results of games or give players unfair advantages over other players. I am not sure if any illegal activity is the sort of thing that warrants league discipline – or, if it does, then all illegal activity of any type should.
    Now, Varlamov – from the allegations – might well have an alcohol problem warranting placement in a program (and time away from playing while in treatment). Being a violent drunk ought to be addressed as a part of any substance abuse program he might go into.

  • Black JEM

    Sorry I missed this.
    If we want to fix the laws on certain things – domestic abuse both male and female – great. Until such time as the criminal justice system deems it a larger problem, and one that can actually more regularly prove the allegations made – lots of domestic abuse cases come up in divorce and custody battles and are complete fiction, ask any divorce attorney – I am inclined to accept the criminal justice system’s verdicts and allow a person to maintain their livelihood if it isn’t in direct conflict of their sentencing.
    If we feel that certain occupations are not able to be pursued if your crime is in one of these grayer areas, I have a problem about who gets to draw that line. But it won’t stop here.
    I would prefer to leave the hockey to hockey and the outside activities that directly impact the integrity of the on ice product. Outside of that you are innocent until proven guilty. And if you are proven guilty you pay the fine or serve the time prescribed. Otherwise our system is no longer one of law but of feelings. I fear those systems more than anything.

  • Black JEM

    NBC Sunday night football sermons from Mr. Costas has got me to turn the games off. There are spaces where I don’t need the awareness, I wish to escape, relax and enjoy myself.
    If sports continues to want to invade that space with the important issues of the day – outside of just general information campaigns – NBA and diabetes, NFL and cancer – I’m just turning it off.

    • Waylon

      Bob Costas has made preening sanctimony an art form – if he was so offended by the Redskins name, why did it take him over five decades of broadcasting to realize it? Same deal on the concussion issue that he ranted about earlier this year – it’s all about his own self – conflated narcissism.

      • laaarmer

        Why do they need so many guys on the show?
        Too many guys that all like talk.

  • BruinsGM24

    Great points about domestic violence and violence against women. You nailed that right on the head.

    Completely disagree with your feelings about fighting in hockey. Perhaps you should embrace the tradition of the sport rather than poke at ways to “fix it.” The “policing themselves” aspect prevents star players from being targeted by the Matt Cookes in the world. It’s an aspect that is brutish for sure, but also brings a sense of redemption that can’t be found in any other sport. Let’s not forgot sport is essentially simulated war for our entertainment (if you don’t believe me, look at some work by Andrei Markovits about how sport originated as a way for soldiers to stay in shape for battle). That’s not to say we shouldn’t try to make the sport safer (e.g., cracking down on headshots), but I think seeing a player have to answer to a cheap shot missed by the refs gives the sort of villain/hero relationship that has helped keep hockey popular to the extent that it is. It brings something different to the table.

  • Commit88

    I’d wait for more info to come out. Sounds bad, but how many times has someone made up or exaggerated some story for whatever reason?

    • ahnfire

      What more information do you want? The complaint is already out there and you can read it.

      • Why

        Just so I’m clear on this one, we’ve now heard one side of the story given to the police via affidavit, and the general reaction should be “case closed”?

      • Commit88

        Well I guess i’d like to actually see what Varlamov’s side of the story is. I don’t automatically assassinate someone because they got arrested. The reactions on here are scary…sort of shows what a mob mentality is.

  • 815Sox

    This wasn’t Varlys first arrest for Domestic Violence either… obviously this should have sent up warning flags immediately. I wonder if the league, the union or the Avs ever required him to attend any type of counseling. DV perps are notoriously difficult to get through to… I regularly dealt with these guys at my old job. It was amazing how much they would change when they talked to me vs some of my female coworkers. Oftentimes, they would try to buddy up with me so I could “understand” why they did what they did. It was really creepy.

    As for McNeil, I wish him the best We all know why he disappeared last time. I think it likely has to do with those issues. The Score guys have been pretty mum on the whole thing.