It’s truthful to say Edmonton Oilers celebrity Connor McDavid isn’t being paid $12.5 million per season to hash out social and off-ice hockey information, and resolve the world’s issues. He’s the very best participant within the recreation proper now, and his on a regular basis focus isn’t going to be on something apart from making an attempt to win video games.
Nevertheless, in shrugging off the foibles of unrestricted free agent winger Evander Kane earlier this week, and making clear he’d welcome Kane to affix his staff, McDavid got here off as tone-deaf and unnecessarily dismissive of great points that matter to many individuals.
On the floor, Kane is an efficient match for the Oilers. You’ll be able to perceive, from a strictly on-ice perspective, why the previous San Jose Sharks star would prosper subsequent to McDavid and/or fellow Oilers star Leon Draisaitl. Certainly, he would possibly give them the very best first line in all of hockey, and that should sound wonderful to McDavid & Co.. They’re deeply craving to win video games and get Edmonton again heading in the right direction, and getting assist in that regard, regardless of the place it comes from, possible is sensible for them.
However we’re not residing in a bubble, and we are able to’t forged apart points simply because we’re not comfy talking about them. Kane’s previous detrimental historical past is an element, whether or not McDavid or anybody else likes it or not. His rumored skill to trigger rifts in his staff’s dressing room with self-centered habits isn’t going away. The actions he took, in submitting a phony COVID-19 vaccination card, converse to his selfishness on a human degree. It mustn’t matter whether or not he contracted the virus or not; the repercussions of his wrongdoing might’ve devastated San Jose’s lineup for weeks to return.
It’s not as if Kane is a few 16-year-old child who has by no means interacted with the media and staff administration previous to doing what he did. He’s 30 years outdated. He’s a full-grown man, and has been for years. And but he has by no means really needed to endure repercussions of his life decisions. He merely moved on, from team-to-team, performing properly from a person perspective, however by no means being a part of a successful staff. Moreover, he’s still being investigated by the NHL for an additional potential violation of the league’s COVID protocols. If Kane has realized his lesson, he certain has a wierd approach of displaying it.
That’s what McDavid ought to’ve been contemplating earlier than talking publicly about Kane becoming a member of the Oilers. Definitely, Edmonton’s public relations employees might’ve helped out McDavid earlier than he made any feedback about Kane, guiding him to say one thing innocuous in entrance of the microphones and cameras. However to talk so brusquely, and make it appear as if Kane goes to be embraced if he signed with Edmonton, McDavid perpetuated the closed hockey tradition that cares solely what a participant can do on an NHL scoresheet.
However we’re not in a spot the place that tradition will probably be celebrated and guarded. The world has modified. We have to make gamers absolutely conscious they’re working in a unique atmosphere than their predecessors performed in. You’ll be able to’t simply endorse somebody for his or her hockey expertise, particularly if it means ignoring harm that they’ve achieved away from the rink. We now try to provide voice to the underrepresented.
There are not any extra free passes for stars of any sport. For those who’re problematic as a citizen, being an elite athlete not permits followers, media and teammates to look previous your wrongdoings. And in a hockey-crazed metropolis like Edmonton, Kane’s historical past is not going to be ignored. If he indicators with the Oilers, he’ll be underneath the most important microscope of his NHL profession.
McDavid all the time has the prospect to stroll again his current feedback about Kane, and he ought to make the most of his platform to specific remorse he wasn’t extra delicate in his alternative of phrases. If Kane does turn out to be an Oiler, McDavid’s feedback might come again to hang-out him. He doesn’t wish to be often known as the very best participant on the earth who additionally endorsed a notoriously adverse pressure in making an attempt to lure that pressure into placing on an Edmonton jersey.
McDavid should present he’s extra delicate than that. That’s actual management, not turning up your nostril at a official query.