DOES THE ROYS’ PUNISHMENT FIT THE CRIME?

Most Canadians have now seen the deplorable pictures of the hockey violence in Quebec City when goalie Jonathan Roy, perhaps egged on by his Hall of Fame father, Patrick, skated down the ice and brutally attacked the opposing goal tender who refused to fight back. Jonathan then turned and gave the crowd the finger. Most commentators agree the whole melee was a terrible example to younger players.

Penalties, fines and suspensions were handed out to both teams. Jonathan Roy was suspended for seven games and fined $500. His father’s suspension is for five games.

In view of the mayhem they caused, many viewers feel the punishment for the Roys is far too light. The lead editorial in this morning’s Montreal Gazette says son Jonathan should be suspended for the rest of this season and all of next season to boot. A letter writer in the Gazette says Patrick Roy should be suspended from coaching teen-age boys for life.

Meanwhile, prosecutors have asked the police to prepare a report, and criminal charges are possible. That pleased the Gazette: “Now that the league’s officials have failed to do their jobs, then maybe it’s time for the police to step in and do it for them.”

Do you think the Roys’ punishment is too light?

Should the suspensions be much longer?

Should criminal charges be laid? (Incitement to violence is a crime)

16 Comments »

  1. 1
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Had the brawl happened ouside a bar the police would have intervened and the culprits charged. Why should it be otherwise just because it happened on the ice of an arena? An assault is an assault no matter where.

  2. 2
    John Says:

    I agree with Paul.

    A hockey fight between two “goons” (individuals paid to engage in such activity) is stupid enough, but that’s not what this was.

    Young Roy skated the length of the ice to pummel an unsuspecting and unwilling individual. That’s assault. If it was done at the prompting of his father, then he’s liable as well. Doesn’t matter that it happened in the context of a hockey game.

  3. 3
    Chimera Says:

    Video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESHa9-Czv_A

    My take? Patrick Roy should be banned from coaching his son’s team (if that’s what he does — I don’t really keep up with junior hockey unless the Giants are playing). Matter of fact, no parent should ever be allowed to coach a team on which his offspring are members. There is ‘way too much potential for the abuse of power and influence.

    Jonathon looked to be following his coach’s orders. That’s a bad position for a player to be in, ’cause he’s damned if he do and damned if he don’t. He’d face retribution later if he hadn’t gotten into it.

    But look at what he did: He threw bare-handed punches at Bobby Nadeau’s helmet and padding. Does anyone thing he really did any damage? Take a look at Nadeau as he skates around afterward…nary a scratch on him…

    Leave the cops out of it. Roy’s hands probably hurt more than any part of Nadeau’s anatomy. But take Roy senior out for some serious woodshedding. And get him away from his son’s team!

  4. 4

    Chimera:-

    Thanks for the great video. Neil

  5. 5
    John Says:

    “Does anyone thing he really did any damage? Take a look at Nadeau as he skates around afterward…nary a scratch on him…”

    Not sure we need cuts and bruises to show an assault occurred when we have a video and 4000 live witnesses.

  6. 6
    John Says:

    “Does anyone thing he really did any damage? Take a look at Nadeau as he skates around afterward…nary a scratch on him…”

    Not sure we need cuts and bruises to show an assault occurred when we have a video and 4000 live witnesses.

  7. 7

    I never understood people who claim the law should get involved in sports. Let the sports govern themselves. Besides, we’ve already destroyed sports thanks to the do-goodin’ interventionists.

    The “Q” has always been this way. Hockey has always been rough to the point to lead to stuff like this.

    Roy has always struggled with his ego. It’s what prevented him, clouded by a 7-1 scoreline no doubt, from doing the right thing and controlling the emotions of his team. It shocks me he didn’t do it.

    A while ago, St. Patrick (how’s that for irony?) intimated that he would want to work for the Habs one day. That’s right. Let’s bring back the one guy who showed up a franchise in front of a national audience – Remember that night? – and set it back for years to come. Tremblay’s poor decisions notwithstanding, what he did was pure selfishness.

    Retire his jersey yes. Bring him back no.

    That said, the suspension wasn’t harsh enough.

  8. 8
    John Says:

    “I never understood people who claim the law should get involved in sports.”

    If the sports could police themselves, then I might understand your inability to understand.

    “Let the sports govern themselves.”

    If they were able to do it, they’d have done it long ago. Hockey’s inability to deal with violence is no different than baseball’s inability to deal with drugs. Most league officials are gutless.

    “That said, the suspension wasn’t harsh enough.’

    See what I mean.

  9. 9

    Give me a break, John. I see that side of the equation. I just disagree with it. Fact: we over step our boundaries now. The lines in society are blurred. We want our politicians TO SOLVE EVERY DARN PROBLEM. Problems they simply ain’t intellectually or morally capable of solving. At some point you need to draw that line.

    It’s not “inability” working here. It’s experience and knowledge with my involvement in sports. It’s book after book, comment after comment, study after study of some of the most thoughtful people in sports and former athletes who back this up.

    Violence in hockey is down across the board in all hockey leagues. They have been able to reduce gratuitous violence. They tackled this issue 10 years ago. People take everything out of context.

    When was the last time you went to a Q game? I’ve been to many in my life and still do. Trust me, that was not the norm what we saw. Once upon a time it was. No longer.

    Does this mean I have blinders on? No. I think people who are getting worked up on this who have a scant clue of what sports are deluding themselves.

    They come out of the woodwork to chastise a league into taking action as to what they deem inappropriate. Sports is separate realm from politics. Why have organizations if we’re prepared to always let someone else come in and take control? My Lord, think this to its logical end! It’s like someone coming into your home or business telling you what to do! Why must we politicize everything?

    I agree that Selig is a dink as are the NHL at times. But what darn organization on the planet isn’t perfect? Should we also watch over CEO’s? Sure sports leagues fail to take initiative at times. But that’s hardly a reason to call in big brother. It’s tough to run modern sports leagues. VERY TOUGH.

    Just one problem they face is, for example, science will always, in the case of MLB or any OTHER SPORT gripped by steroids (which by the way has been a problem FOR DECADES), of ethics. It still doesn’t follow that politicians (of all people) or the law should get involved. It makes no sense. WADA has no business sticking its noses in MLB for a myriad of reasons.

    Sorry. I played sports at a high level all my life and seen with my own two eyes what a mess all these interlopers make of sports.

    We’ve made it worse with all our nonsense. Once upon a time players used to get under each other’s skin and a slide tackle or fight ensued to purge the tension and all was well. Every once in a while it would explode and then boil over quickly. Now, we have removed all this and athletes/players have no outlet. And the perception and/or ill-feeling of this lingers. Hence, the rise of dirty play and theatrics in sports. The media scrutinizes everything without putting one thought into researching something thoroughly – please see Macpherson’s article. That guy should stick to what he knows.

    The culture of violence is all but gone. Marketing to consumers rather than old-style fans has won the day. So fret not. Our athletes will end up pristine angels soon enough. At which point real sports fans will be extinct. Conversely, the culture of the rat is on the rise and this will lead to other unintended consequences.Now people want to regulate trash talking. See the Pandora’s box we’ve opened?

    People should calm down. Question the penalty that’s fine. But don’t tell me the law needs to step in or some other regulatory body or politician should step in to “take care” of business.

    The Roy’s acted like punks. No doubt about it. But they are the exception rather than the norm. Give the Q credit for cleaning up its act.

    The “inability” of people to keep it in proper context is also the problem.

    Juvenal once said, “who will watch the guardians?” Today, we have to add a layer to that comment, “who will watch the self-appointed guardians of the guardians?”

    Best job in town indeed.

    Sorry for the length. I couldn’t edit this since I am writing with my two-year old hanging off me!

  10. 10
    John Says:

    Commentator, your lengthy discourse aside, I stand my original statement. Fighting between two individuals who drop the gloves for whatever reason (retaliation, tension release, bad hair day etc) is an accepted part of hockey. THAT’S NOT WHAT HAPPENED!

    One individual skated the length of the ice and drove another individual who was simply standing there back against the crossbar and then proceeded to rain down punches on him while he was standing and then while he was lying on the ice……for no other reason than the fact that the other person happens to play the same position. That’s ridiculous.

    The fact that this is not the norm or the other person wasn’t seriously injured does not in any way lessen the gravity of what happened. Seven games and five games is a joke.

    It’s not outside pressure from “do-gooders” forcing the police to get involved. It’s the apparent “unwillingness” of the leagues to deal with incidents such as this.

  11. 11
    Chimera Says:

    “Not sure we need cuts and bruises to show an assault occurred when we have a video and 4000 live witnesses.”

    Do you also think that wrestling is real? Go back and watch that video, and this time, watch it with analytical eyes. Imagine the conversation:

    Jonathon Roy: “Hey, Bobby, sorry about this, but if I don’t rough you up, my dad is gonna bust my balls when he gets me in the locker room…”

    Bobby Nadeau: “‘S okay, bud…I still got my helmet on and I’m padded with gear so you can’t hurt me, and I’m the one who’s gonna collect all the sympathy, so go for it…”

    Conversations like that happen all the time when hockey games erupt in bench-clearing “brawls.” Otherwise cool-headed players on both sides need to give some kind of show of support in order to satisfy their coaches and the spectators, so they pair off and pretend to go at each other, mostly just grabbing and waltzing around. And since you can’t hear what they’re saying to each other, you have no idea that the total conversation is “Hey, howyadoin’?” rather than vile epithets.

    But you don’t have to take my word for it. Read a few hockey biographies. Take it from the guys who’ve been there.

    “One individual skated the length of the ice and drove another individual who was simply standing there back against the crossbar and then proceeded to rain down punches on him while he was standing and then while he was lying on the ice……for no other reason than the fact that the other person happens to play the same position. >b>That’s ridiculous.”

    Actually, that’s show business. It’s good for gate fees. Seriously. The number of spectators at the next few games will go up — all people who want to be there when the next brawl erupts so they can give their own eye-witness accounts.

  12. 12
    John Says:

    As soon as Nadeau says it was all in good fun and he’d do the exact same thing, I’ll agree with you Chimera.

  13. 13
    Chimera Says:

    You don’t have to agree with me, John. I have no investment in this. All I’m saying is maybe you shouldn’t be so quick to jump to a conclusion until you have more facts. Hockey has been played this way since the beginning, and most fights are for show — especially the brawls that clear the benches and get the audience on its feet.

    And Nadeau won’t say anything. Are you serious? He’s got his own coach to worry about!

  14. 14
    John Says:

    Chimera, I’m not sure what the conclusion is that you don’t want me to jump to? All I’ve said is that one player skated the length of the ice to shove another player up against the crossbar and then started repeatedly punching him. That seems to me to be quite obvious from the video you posted.

    I called it assault. You called it show business. I based my description on what I saw. You based yours on an imaginary conversation. Who’s on shaky ground here?

    I also don’t buy the notion that “hockey has been played this way from the beginning.” I don’t think anybody who’s gone toe to toe with Gordie Howe, Rocket Richard or Mark Messier would say “Oh it was just a little show business.”

    I do agree that today’s “goon hockey” where two players with no appreciable talent other than to fight interrupt the game to pound on each other because of some bullshit code of honour that says they have to set the tone or stand up for their team mates or impress their mother or whatever is absolute nonsense.

    The fact that you believe the game of hockey has now sunk to the level of the WWF is a sad commentary on the current game. That’s not the way the players I mentioned, or hundreds of others, played the game. History doesn’t support your imaginary conversation.

  15. 15
    Chimera Says:

    “Chimera, I’m not sure what the conclusion is that you don’t want me to jump to?” […*snip*…] “I called it assault.”

    That’s the conclusion. You assume that it was assault. You saw what you wanted to see. You didn’t look for anything that might indicate it could be something else, and yet you know that you can’t hear what was going on among the players, so you know you only have part of the information you need in order to come to a good conclusion.

    Bobby Nadeau is uninjured after that “assault.” You “saw” Roy throw punch after punch at Nadeau’s head, but you don’t see any cuts, bruises, swellings, blood, or any other indication that he was actually a victim of what seemed to be a pretty brutal beating.

    It may turn out to be assault. Or it may turn out to be just what I said — show biz.

    And I was basing my imaginary conversation on what I’ve learned from real hockey players — that a lot of the “fights” are simply for show.

  16. 16
    John Says:

    I quite agree, Chimera, most fights in hockey these days are harmless spectacles. In this case, as you say, one chooses to see what they want to see…..and hear what they want to hear.

    At this point I suspect we are both getting quite winded. Time to let go, pick up the gloves and sticks and head to the box…….

    I must say, however, that following the video replay, i do expect you to get slapped with an additional “2” under the instigator rule lol ha-ha-ha


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