Jamie Benn reached out to Canucks stars Henrik and Daniel Sedin Wednesday for an untoward conversation about the twins he and teammate Tyler Seguin were part of on a Dallas radio station. It was the right thing for Benn and the team to do after a notable error in judgment.
When Stars forwards
Jamie Benn and
Tyler Seguin went on a Dallas sports radio station and participated in a highly-disparaging conversation about Canucks stars
Henrik Sedin, they were the co-culprits behind a smear job on two players who’ve done nothing to deserve it. But to the credit of Benn and the Stars organization, both made efforts Wednesday to rectify that error in judgment: Dallas’ captain
reached out to apologize to the twin brothers, and the team made clear the respect they have for the veteran stars. Of course, that didn’t stop many Stars fans from reflexively leaping up to defend their hometown heroes when Seguin and Benn
were called to account for that error. That’s to be expected. That’s what a large percentage of every fan base instinctively does. In this particular case, they argued that, because Benn and Seguin didn’t come out and explicitly accuse the Sedins of a perverse or bizarre fraternal relationship – and, in an even more specious argument, because people had called them “creepy” before in far different contexts – it absolved them of being responsible
for implying that something wasn’t right with the brothers as human beings. (audio via
TSN Radio Vancouver) The fatal flaw with those theories: they ignore the lead-in discussion, which centered around what happened with NHLers in hotel rooms on the road. When Benn gets the ball rolling by saying, “who knows what else (the Sedins) do together?”, are people trying to argue he was suggesting the Sedins were playing with toy trains, like
the Hanson Brothers? Please.
It was not a comment made in the hope of improving the Sedins’ image. It was a transparent slight on their character, fraught with the notion that something untoward was going on in those hotel rooms. And when one of the hosts went on to proudly display his ignorance of the hockey world by stating the Sedins were “a good example to future brothers in the NHL on how not to do things,” Seguin and Benn let the remark pass without any correction. All it would’ve taken was either one of them to say, “No, listen, those guys may be our opponents, but you can’t say that about them,” to defuse the rhetorical bomb they’d built. You know what that statement would’ve been? The truth. Even if Benn and Seguin hadn’t gone back and addressed the implications about what the Sedins do in their hotel room, if either one of them had ended the interview segment by being an adult about the situation, this issue likely would’ve passed with little notice. Benn and Seguin didn’t do that. They played along to get along, and that’s how cultures and generations quietly legitimize passive and active prejudices and bequeath them to future generations for safe (and sorry) keeping. Years ago, Seguin and Benn could’ve had that conversation on that same radio station without incident. But who cares what they could’ve done back then? Nostalgia is not a justification for bigotry and backward behavior. Those guys could’ve said a lot of things years ago. They could’ve smoked in the studio, slapped a woman on the backside, and used vaguely racist code like “he’s so eloquent” or “they’re just a bunch of thugs” during their time on the air, and society wouldn’t have pushed back, because the people who paid the price for those injustices had no voice. To the consternation of some folks, the world has changed. You can’t say or do any of that today, and Benn and Seguin have now learned they can’t suggest what they suggested, either in words or in tone, without having to answer for it. The Stars understood this lesson and acted swiftly to deal with it, and they and Benn deserve kudos for taking ownership of what was said. It was the right thing to do in answer to the wrong thing to do. And Seguin’s absence from the apology release doesn’t reflect well on him. But the people who come out looking the best here? The Sedin twins, of course. The only way they could ever be involved with a situation like this is as the victim. You’ll never see Henrik or Daniel involved as the aggressors in this, or any other predicament. And that’s why they are, in fact, not just
a good example to future brothers in the NHL on how to do things, but
the best example.