Last night saw the Habs fade into the night and onto the golf course (golf jokes are always funny, right Leafs fans?) as the Lightning advanced to the Eastern Conference finals. Who could have predicted such a thing?
Tonight, it's all about the game 7 between the Rangers and the Capitals in New York. I'm linking to some people who are much more knowledgeable about this, and who will provide a much better analysis than I could.
What I want to talk about is the way that a lot of fan bases have reacted when fellow fans do something bad. Like, sexist/racist/homophobic bad.
Fans of Toronto FC are dealing with this problem right now, after several fans were filmed shouting a vulgar phrase (and justifying its humour) as CityNews reporter Shauna Hunt was on camera.
Hydro One fired one of the men, and MLSE and TFC announced that those fans would be banned for at least a year. [I can't speak to the tradition of the specific phrase they were using, but apparently it's commonly shouted on camera, and I miss the days where I hadn't ever heard of this.]
The impulse amongst many Toronto FC fans--as we have seen before in Boston after (multiple) racist Twitter flareups, or amongst Montreal or Islanders fans who aren't pleased that other fans are harassing away fans-- is to distance themselves from the offending fans. Comments like "Not all TFC fans are like that!" or "They aren't REAL Toronto FC fans!" are making the rounds, and while I understand this impulse, I think it's the wrong one.
"Not All TFC Fans" is not productive. It positions the problem as somewhere over there, beyond your ability (or need) to address. It comes across as more interested in preserving the image of Toronto FC and its fans than in addressing sexism in the fandom community. Maybe the problem is that they are Toronto FC fans, and that sports fan culture is often so intricately tied to various -isms that it is part and parcel of being a fan for many.
No one thinks that all TFC fans are sexist and shout obscenities at the camera (and honestly, if they do, that's stupid). And anyone who thinks that their fan base does not have a problem with sexism (or homophobia, or racism), is being disingenuous. However, passing the buck to "those fans" does not address it.
Instead of telling people that "not all TFC fans are like that," why not show it? Why not work to challenge these incidents when they are happening (it needs to be said that not everyone feels safe intervening, and this should not be an expectation for everyone). Admitting there's a problem, at minimum, is an important start.
If (probably when) there is a similar incident by Leafs fans, I would hope that members of this community and others would come together to try to do something about it, instead of just saying that we didn't do it and it isn't our problem.
Now, back to your regularly scheduled hockey banter.
Game 7 Previews
Rangers-Capitals game 7 by the numbers - NHL.com
Toronto Maple Leafs need Dylan Strome at fourth overall - The Hockey Writers
Noah Hanifin on Toronto, McDavid and NHL draft - Sportsnet
Marlies move to Eastern conference in AHL realignment - The Leafs Nation
Around the League
Fan tributes to the Ducks/Hawks series - Bar Down
Someone get Bruce Boudreau a pair of Air Bombay loafers, stat!
Ken Hitchcock will stay, according to speculation from the NY Post - St. Louis Game Time
Wild netminder Josh Harding expected to retire - Puck Daddy
Where in the world is Mike Babcock? - Winging it in Motown