In light of the recent reports of abuse, the NHL had begun to take action. The Anaheim Ducks should follow suit and address the recent Darryl Sutter allegations.
The person who coined the phrase “ignorance is bliss” would be correct in his assessment. For years, racial slurs, negligence, and abuse have seemingly been hidden under the NHL umbrella. Nevertheless, to put it kindly, things went pear-shaped after Mike Babcock was fired and information about his coaching tenure in Toronto came to light. Since then, several coaches have been exposed. Darryl Sutter’s name has been brought up in the mix. It is not enough for the Anaheim Ducks to ignore these allegations, untrue or not, and it’s high time they addressed it.
Over the summer, the Anaheim Ducks hired Sutter as a mentor to Dallas Eakins, at Eakins’ request. He is a highly regarded coach throughout the league. However, accusations can seriously hurt someone’s reputation if not dealt with in the appropriate manner. If found to be true, allowing Sutter to remain with the organization will be a very bad look for the Ducks.
Nevertheless, the Sutter allegations have been nothing but rumors. They have not proven to be true, at least not yet. One former player of his claimed that he witnessed verbal abuse from Sutter during his time with the LA Kings. No other players have stepped forward to corroborate this story, but that doesn’t mean these accusations have been fabricated.
In the wake of the exposure of such a serious problem, it would be wise of the Anaheim Ducks to conduct some sort of investigation, even if it small, to absolve Sutter of any wrongdoing. Not only do the fans deserve to know that he is innocent, but they also deserve to know that the organization is protecting their players.
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NHL Taking Steps Forward
Over the past month, several high profile coaches have been investigated after allegations of abuse had come to light. Following the firing of Babcock, both Bill Peters and Jim Montgomery have been fired due to inappropriate conduct and mistreatment of players. Marc Crawford, of the Chicago Blackhawks, is currently still under investigation but has been asked to step away from the team for the time being.
NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman, recently addressed the allegations of abusive behavior from NHL coaches. The league is taking a stance, implementing a mandatory program for coaches. This program will coach the coaches “on counseling, consciousness-raising, education and training on diversity and inclusion;” that discipline, from teams or the league or both, for inappropriate conduct be “severe and appropriate” and “ensure that the conduct does not occur again.” Bettman is also considering implementing a hotline for players to report abusive behavior anonymously.
"“This is an opportunity, and a moment, for positive change and this evolution should be expedited — for the benefit of everyone associated with the game we love. And even while change is taking effect, we still must acknowledge things that were wrong in the past.” -Gary Bettman"
Let’s hope this is the beginning of change for the NHL. There is no excuse for a coach to verbally or physically abuse their players. Action must continue to be taken until it is instilled in every single coach, head coach or assistant, that this kind of behavior is unacceptable.
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