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Opinion: The good, the bad and the ugly of the last month in sports

The MLB gives fans a night to remember in Iowa while the NHL continues to perpetuate hockey's rape culture
Field of Dreams Game
Players from both the Yankees and the White Sox enter the diamond through the corn ahead of the first ever Field of Dreams Game in Iowa

With NFL training camps getting underway, the MLB gearing up for the playoffs and the NHL and NBA in the middle of their offseason, there’s a lot happening in the world of sports right now that has fans excited. Unfortunately, despite all the excitement and optimism for sports fans, not all the news from the last month of sports has been positive. But more on that later—first I want to start off on a positive note.

The MLB hosted its first game ever in Dyersville, Iowa on Aug. 12. And if you are wondering where on Earth Dyersville is, or maybe even where the hell is Iowa (no judgment here), this is the city where the iconic movie Field of Dreams was set, and where the MLB built the Field of Dreams Stadium that will host an MLB game each season. And in the first ever game there, the MLB knocked it out of the park.

The outfield backing on to a cornfield, the old-school wooden scoreboard and the fact that the MLB didn’t try to over commercialize it and kept the stadium to just 8,000 seats, made everything about this game perfect.

And then seeing the teams enter the diamond through the cornfield, just like in the movie, literally gave me chills.

Kevin Costner (the star of the movie) was even on hand to throw the ceremonial first pitch and give an emotional speech, which he ended by asking the crowd, “Is this heaven?” to which the 8,000 fans responded in unison with, “It’s Iowa,” which gave me even more chills.

And the game itself was one for the ages too, as the White Sox' Tim Anderson hit a walk off home rune in the bottom of the 9th to win the game 9-8. Anderson was the 15th player in White Sox history to hit a walk off against the Yankees. The First? Shoeless Joe Jackson in 1919, the year of the Black Sox scandal, and what the movie Field of Dreams was based off. Did I mention chills yet?

It was truly something special, and I can’t wait for it to happen again next year.

But as I alluded to earlier, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows in the world of sports over the last month.

Fresh off being Canada’s newest darlings on their miracle run to the Stanley Cup Finals, the Montreal Canadiens and General Manager Marc Bergevin were back to their low-key shady ways when the NHL draft rolled around on July 23.

Before we can move forward on why Bergevin is as shady as they come, we have to take a quick detour back to November 2020 when 17-year-old hockey player, Logan Mailloux, captured lewd photos of a girl during a sexual encounter and then uploaded them to his team group chat without her consent. He was later charged with defamation and ordered to pay a fine, resulting in most NHL teams reportedly putting the prospect on their “do not draft” lists.

But whether it was just PR spin or an actual maturity awakening from the young hockey player, Mailloux released a statement asking teams not to draft him as he didn’t feel he had “demonstrated strong enough maturity or character” to earn the privilege of being drafted and he wanted another year to prove that he could grow and mature.

This is where we come back to the Canadiens and Bergevin.

In a move that shouldn’t be shocking to anyone Bergevin ignored Mailloux’s wishes and drafted the player with the 31st pick in the draft anyways.

And the team was prepared for this controversial pick with a pre-planned statement on why the pick was made that read, “the Montreal Canadiens organization not only selected a promising hockey player, but also a young man who recently admitted to making a serious mistake.” And that they are making a “commitment to accompany Logan on his journey by providing him with the tools to mature … ”

News Flash: if you need to have a statement prepared in advance as to why you drafted a player, you probably shouldn’t draft that player.

But more concerning than the lack of common sense and awareness is the fact that this is all part of a manipulation strategy called DARVO (Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender) designed to minimize people’s perception of the severity of the incident.

The Canadiens denied the fact that this incident was anything more than just a “serious mistake,” when in reality, it was a crime and this kid is now a sexual offender. He would be hard pressed to get any real job, but the NHL and the Canadiens are showing everybody that if you are good enough at hockey, the same rules don’t apply to you.

And despite the victim of this act just wanting a sincere apology and justice for what was done to her, Mailloux is quoted as saying that she told him she wants to ruin his career. That’s the attack part. It makes people question the victim’s integrity, thus shifting focus off the real criminal.

And when Mailloux uses the ever-so-innocent excuse that he was just trying to impress the older guys on the team, it once again downplays the severity and reverses the victim and offender to make people feel sorry for him as, “just a kid who made a mistake and deserves a second chance.” Well guess what? The girl that he defamed and spread her nude photos around without consent, she was just a kid too, why doesn’t anyone think of her?

The saddest part about all of this is that it isn’t new. We’ve seen it time and again, across all major sports leagues and nothing has changed except the number of times NHL franchises will say “hockey is for everyone,” in between perpetuating, legitimizing and protecting hockey’s rape culture like the Canadiens did by drafting Logan Mailloux.