Yesterday we saw the ugliness that can sometimes accompany heated emotions in relation to sports. Andrew Shaw said some bad stuff and everyone that follows hockey, and some that don’t, are now well aware of the story. More disgusting however, has been the fan response to this incident. Article comments and twitter have been filled with the usual garbage posted by anonymous posters decrying that people need to grow a thicker skin (best case scenario) or that people that fall into the slurred category don’t deserve to live (worst case scenario). When Christopher Hine, a writer who covers the Blackhawks and who is gay, tried to explain why this is a big deal, he received a threat of physical violence. This was someone’s response after a very well thought out, and extremely fair to Andrew Shaw, article that really just wanted people to understand what that word can mean to certain people.
I am not gay, so I will never truly understand how hurtful that word can be to those who are. However, I know as a father and as a fan of sports, I am tired of hearing words like that thrown around and then defended with "oh they didn’t mean it like that" or "it’s his right to say what he wants". I want us as Blues fans to be better than this. We can still insult other teams and vent our frustration without having to resort to using that word (or any other of a variety of words that slurs entire groups of people). We are better than that, we are far more creative than that, and we can get these types of incidents out of our stands and out of our sport because it is the right thing to do.