For the third time this year, hockey Twitter has a problem.
First, it was Harrison Mooney.
Mooney was fired by Yahoo Sports in August after his numerous instances of misconduct, which included extremely gross and creepy messages, became public.
Unedited, here ya go. Have at it, internet pic.twitter.com/14WvFngz4B
— Ace Neptune (@jnmcrms) August 15, 2014
Next, it was Steve Lepore. A SB Nation, Sirius XM and Rolling Stone writer, Lepore had a history of coming on creepily to women he had just “met” on Twitter, clearly going through the stages of grooming in the screenshots shared by one brave young woman who made her interactions with Lepore public, prompting more to come forward.
Now, it’s Adrian Dater who has crossed the latest line. Let go from his job at the Denver Post, Dater penned a statement today that admitted fault for his actions while taking care to mention mental illness he suffers from, as well as the difficult circumstances that are the reality of the job he held for 20 years. You can read the post here on his Facebook. Essentially, he’s sorry, and he takes all the blame for his actions…but it’s not his fault. This is not the first time Dater has been inappropriate; he DM’d a woman for nude photos and told another he wouldn’t argue with her over hockey because of her gender.
This was about the Cody McLeod hit on Kronwall. But I’m a woman, I’m not worth arguing with. pic.twitter.com/MLgw82kLu8
— Maria Camacho (@Mariia19) December 1, 2014
Each of these men crossed numerous lines, repeatedly.
And the only surprise that some people are somehow, still surprised that these men took advantage of their positions to prey on women.
While hockey is a sport with a predominantly male fanbase, it has been well-documented that the growth of female fans of the sport outpaces their male counterparts’ by ten times. This means great things for hockey. More players, more money, more tickets and jerseys sold, more headlines clicked, more ads sold, better ratings, more butts in seats.
But only if we feel safe.
What can our community do differently? How can we stem the tide of creeps?
Now, we’re looking to men to be our allies. To support our voices, amplify them, and — this is key — to support us.
It can be hard to speak up. We’ve learned that to complain about it means you’re not fun, you’re not cool. You’re paranoid. It’s not that bad.
And I’m going to tell you a secret right now: no matter how confident you are, no matter how adult you are, no matter how smart or well-educated you are it is still incredibly difficult to get up the nerve to say that yes, this happened to me. Yes, this was inappropriate. No, I didn’t misjudge what went on here. And then to stand by your words.
Earlier this fall I was followed for a month or more. Stalking, the police report calls it. But even when I was sitting, bawling my eyes out in the back of an ice rink, terrifying the shit out of the employees there because even though I had blocked his calls, his texts, and the entire side of town he lived on, he had been there, watching me…I hesitated to call the police. Because what if I was wrong? What if I was paranoid?
But the real question I should have asked myself was, what if I was right?
I’m glad to say I did, eventually, get the gumption to get off that floor and go to the police. I’m proud that these women exposed these men for what they were: predatory creeps.
Sexual predators come in all shapes, sizes, colors and levels of niceness. Some of them are really successful at their jobs and some of them live in their buddy’s basement. The point is that they are there, and we need to know that there will be support when we talk about it, that these men are unwelcome to continue merrily along in our spaces, no matter how much hockey know-how they might have, or how compelling a writer they are. They are predators, and we need to make it clear that none of us will stand for that.