Ontario Hockey League commissioner David Branch took strong steps Wednesday to address vile misogynistic comments made by two players, suspending Peterborough Petes forward Greg Betzold and Belleville Bulls forward Jake Marchment 15 games apiece for "social networking activity" that contravenes the OHL’s social networking policy and other league policies including Respect in Sport (Harassment and Abuse) and diversity.
"The OHL takes issues related to respect, diversity and harassment very seriously," Branch's league said in a statement. "The social networking conduct displayed by these players goes against what the League stands for and serves to highlight a sense of entitlement that we, as a League, have worked hard to try to eliminate. We believe these suspensions, going forward, will reinforce to our players that all activity, be it in person, on the ice or online, must be in keeping with our policies."
Both players apologized for their actions before their punishment was announced, but at a time when society is becoming more aware of casual and aggressive misogyny, a simple apology doesn't suffice. The penalty in these types of instances must be at least this harsh, because sports needs to strongly reinforce the fact such behavior isn't acceptable under any circumstances.
Any less of a punishment would be a slap on the wrist. And that would as offensive as the remarks themselves.