Feb 12·edited Feb 12

The Flames organization has no business reporting why an employee is taking leave. Period. Full stop.

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Totally agree. Whether it’s pregnancy leave, paternal leave, mental or whatever the team’s only obligation is to the fans by saying player x has requested and been granted leave for personal reasons and the team respects their privacy on these matters. Any further information should come from the player or his/her rep.

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Hmm. There is a definite “guilty until proven innocent” theme to this piece. We don’t know the details the court is yet to hear. Innocent or guilty, the mental toll on Dube would be immense. I read a “man-up” don’t use a mental health excuse message to the Flames - and Dube - which is the so-called “hockey culture” that has been said to create this situation.

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Having grown up in small town Canada where hockey is God, only a fool is not aware of the notoriously bad behaviour of hockey players. At the same time, only a fool is not also aware of the notoriously bad behaviour of “Puck Bunnies.” The name “Puck Bunnies” did not materialize from out of nowhere. As to this particular situation, I hope actual justice is served, whichever direction that goes.

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I think the Flames relied on the advice of their lawyers, and their statements reflect that, and only that - any suggestion that the Flames have committed an 'epic internal blunder' are speculative at best.

If I'm reading Mr. Meyers point correctly, he feels what the Flames should have done is released a statement of the more 'neutral' variety that the other players' teams released? I hope this is all he thinks they should have done, because for the Flames to say anything else would be legally reckless at this point in the legal process underway.

As the author himself pointed out - we do not know what actually happened in that hotel room, only what has been alleged and denied.

Let the legal process play out.

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I think it's worth noting how careful reporters and news organizations were over the last year and especially the last couple weeks prior to charges actually being laid. Some hockey insiders like Frank Seravalli made it pretty clear that lawyers weren't shy about sending out cease and desist letters. Also worth noting that there's another 15 or so players who were on that team but not charged (some of whom may also have some moral blameworthiness if not criminal liability, if they were in the next room) who have been caught up in this who would have a strong interest in tamping down rumors. Basically, it's a really litigious environment around these players. Seravalli has also said that teams were kept completely in the dark by the league and players. Dube I believe was the first player to go on leave, as well. Not sure that the Flames are guilty of much here other than taking a player at his word, and I'm an Oilers fan.

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The entire premise of this piece is that Dube is guilty. Full stop. It even extends to the shot at Hockey Canada's credibility. Hockey Canada can only be found to be in the wrong here if the players are guilty. Even then I would say that player guilt is a necessary but not sufficient condition for such a finding against HC - and I say that as someone who has no time for HC to begin with.

Back to the Flames press release. As a couple of commenters have noted the Flames had no business reporting the reason for the leave at all. I totally agree - for privacy (and other) reasons it is up to the player himself to say why he is on a given leave. But the clear reason the author of this piece is upset is because he believes Dube is guilty. He writes:

Still, a blunder is a much better than the Option B: that they did know and tried to hide it as a mental-health leave, which is as horrifyingly unethical as the above scenario is dubious.

This is only horrifyingly unethical if Dube is guilty and the Flames have reason to believe he is guilty. What if he's innocent? I sure as hell can understand why someone in the public spotlight may have some "mental health issues" if they have been falsely accused of something so heinous.

Now again, the Flames had no business citing any reason for the leave and if the author had left it at that I would agree. And, if Dube IS guilty the Flames statement actually is horrifying, so "strategically" I think it was a big mistake for them to have said what they did.

But the problem here, as with Stinson's piece last week, is that it is entirely premised on Dube being guilty. Yeah, the author pays lip service to the notion of due process ("The most important element of this story, of course, is the alleged crime — both in terms of ensuring justice and support for the accuser and also a fair trial for the accused, who are innocent until proven guilty") but the underlying tone including the comments about HC and hockey culture gives away the game. Can we not wait for a trial or guilty plea?!

And there actually is a good opinion piece begging to be written about a certain public pronouncement on the case, namely that made by the London Police Chief when he (at the press conference announcing the charges) apologized to the accuser before there has been a trial or a guilty plea. That ought to be of far greater concern that what some NHL team has to say. The fact that there has been (as far as I know) no great outcry over the Police Chief's public statement is further proof that huge swaths of this Country simply do not care about due process and the presumption of innocence.

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Re: the police chief. I see what you are saying.

But it is his service's investigation that [eventually] resulted in laying charges, which is an indication/affirmation they believe in the validity of the charges, which is, one might think, normal — given it's essentially a vote in favor of the work they did to lay said charges.

It's not uncommon for police to say they essentially work on behalf of the victims/survivors they deal with.

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In a province where suggesting parents make decisions for children leads to “thoughts of suicide”, I can imagine facing sexual assault charges might potentially impact a person's mental health.

I’d be interested in seeing Meyer’s draft of the statement he would have released days in advance of an official police announcement. It would need to be based on an “innocent until proven guilty” restriction, be considerate of an innocent person’s privacy (see previous point), be truthful but not necessarily forthcoming and not be speculative about charges that hadn’t been laid (or at least announced).

It looks to me like Meyers is shouting from the cheap seats. The free seat he got from hindsight.

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As a Flames fan, I have no idea why the Flames would go out of their way to protect Dube as he’s not a star, and hasn’t even been good recently. I kind of want to give management the benefit of the doubt in terms of advanced knowledge. I think their extra effort on the mental health thing stems more from their recent interactions with Oliver Kylington than an effort to cover up for Dube. That said, if this is mostly on Dube, he should be cut as soon as he’s elligible to return and I don’t even care if he beats the charges.

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Feb 14·edited Feb 14

The NHL should take action based on its own investigation. Workplace investigations establish findings based on the civil standard of proof - a 'balance of probabilities' - whereas police must establish proof on the criminal standard - 'beyond a reasonable doubt'. When CBC investigated Ghomeshi, he was terminated based on the internal investigation long before the criminal investigation ended. Indeed, employees are fired every day for their misdeeds based on internal investigations. The NHL should stand behind its own policies and terminate the players contracts if their investigation found that they engaged in misconduct violating the NHL's code of conduct or other policies (and notify the players in writing if the internal investigation did not substantiate any misconduct).

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Delighted to see the consistent responses to this disturbing article and consultant who gives "lip service" to privacy and the presumption of innocence.

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I am glad that the complainant is getting her day in Court, particularly when the half hearted efforts of multiple levels of police, officers of the Court and hockey administrators have dragged things out far longer than acceptable. Much of the effort was concentrated on face saving and damage control to the detriment of a person who deserves her day in court.

I am also a firm believer in due process and hope that the complainant and the accused in this pending court case gets a fair hearing. For those of us who are watching from the sidelines, it is time poorly spent to armchair quarterback what other third parties should do or shouldn’t. Did the Flames act appropriately in the circumstances? I don’t really care, except that the team didn’t shelter a player on the roster from facing the music. Dube was granted leave to attend to some serious allegations, and when new information comes to light, the Flames will deal with it then.

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