‘Georges Laraque, NHL’s Unlikeliest Tough Guy’ says an NHL player needs to come out
In an interview this morning on CBC Radio, Georges Laraque, an NHL player from 1996 to 2010, and known to be quite an enforcer on the ice (he was named “Best Fighter” by The Hockey News in 2003 and the “Number One Enforcer” by Sports Illustrated in 2008) said he played with a player he knew was bisexual and that the NHL needs a gay player to come out.
At 14:50 into this interview, the interviewer shifted the discussion from the issues of fighting in the sport (the main reason for the interview) and asking: “How big of a problem do you think racism and homophobia are in the hockey world?”
On the issue of homophobia, Laraque responded:
“Well, I’ve been working really on hard to defend those rights: I do every parade I can, and I talk about that all the time.
“But what would be awesome is to have a player to come out and to admit that he’s gay.
“And I have played once with a player that was actually bisexual—and I can’t mention his name—but we need a guy in the NHL [to come out as gay]. If you look at the stats, we know that there has to be some guys in the NHL that are, but in a team sport, I could understand why they wouldn’t want because everything is shared—showers, road trip, hotels, and everything.
“There’s still a long way to go. You’re right, the slur of calling someone gay or fag and all those words, well, something you often associate with someone that doesn’t want to engage, doesn’t want to fight. So, you’re right, it should change.”
It’s a shame that calling someone gay or a fag is the go-to slur directed at someone doesn’t want to fight. This is the reason why I support those campaigns to end the use of homophobic slurs and phrases like “that’s so gay.”
Too often, those slurs are defended with the stance: “oh, it’s not homophobic… I have nothing against gay people.” But the message is perpetuates is that calling someone gay is the quickest way you can tear them down and challenge their strength. To call them gay is to call them weak.
This needs to stop, and I commend Laraque for being so vocal on this issue (and many others, if you continue to listen through the end of the interview).
Hat tip to twitter follower (@idhToronto) for pointing this news out!