In case you missed it yesterday former NHLer Akim Aliu, the man who came forward with his story about facing racial discrimination from former NHL head coach Bill Peters, penned a very sincere account of the struggles he has endured as a minority in the hockey world.
Among the things that Aliu shared was a recount of the horrific hazing incident that he dealt with during his time with the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires and the lack of empathy or support shown by that team’s coaching staff. In effect, Aliu pointed his finger squarely at hockey coaches at all levels to “be better” and foster better experiences and surroundings for players, especially younger players.
Whether you agree with Aliu’s assertions or not, there’s no denying that his article was the talk of the hockey world yesterday. And then Taylor Hall, unwittingly, waded himself into a whirlpool of controversy.
Just hours after Aliu shared his story, Hall himself posted a photo of a letter he received from one of his former coaches (Who also happened to be from the Windsor area). Innocent, right? Not on Twitter.
Angry hockey fans on Twitter ripped into Hall for his insensitivity to the day’s topic with several of them urging him to “read the room”.
First, check out Hall’s post:
And now, check out some of these replies:
Look, I'm not going to sit here and tell you that racism doesn't exist and that minorities have a more difficult path, specifically in the hockey world. But, what I will say is that I agree with Hall's sentiment. I don't believe that he intended to undermine Aliu's message at all. In fact, I'd be surprised if Hall even knew about it before sending out his Tweet. To me, I just see a guy who was sorting through some of his old stuff, found something he thought was cool and figured he'd share it with his fans.
Not all hockey coaches are angels descended from the heavens. But, at the same time, not all hockey coaches are evil, racist monsters either. The fact is, there are good people and bad people in this world. Just because Hall's message and Aliu's message seem to be in conflict, the truth is that both can exist in the hockey world simultaneously.
In any case... read the room, Taylor.