As happens nearly every time we have a controversy involving race in this country, the so called "progressive thinkers" get out the biggest brushes they can paint as many people as the villains as possible. Stepping up to the plate to fill that role in the Donald Sterling controversy is Los Angeles Times columnist Sandy Banks who decided to spread a little collateral damage to the National Hockey League and it's fan base. In her article this week Banks had this suggestion for the soon-to-be-former-owner of the LA Clippers:
Let the real estate magnate and
Clippers owner take his millions and buy a hockey team. Then he won’t
have to worry about black superstars showing up for games on his
See, hockey is "safe" for racists because there aren't any black people there! (Which would come as a big surprise to the dozens of blacks and other minorities currently playing in the NHL--including two on the Anaheim Ducks--a team that Banks' newspaper gives marginal coverage to--not to mention the various ethnicities you will find at Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks games.)
Yes, minority participation in hockey is much smaller than any of the other major sports. But when your best players come from places like Parry Sound and Brantford, Ontario or Russia and Sweden--and work their way to the NHL through places like Brandon, Manitoba and Grand Forks, North Dakota--achieving diversity is going to be a challenge.
Believe me, the NHL and USA Hockey have made efforts to reach out to minorities. There are urban hockey youth programs that provide donated equipment and free ice time in an effort to offset what is usually the biggest factors in non-participation in the sport by kids of all colors--it's a very expensive game to play. But such efforts can only do so much. Barring passage of a federal law saying you MUST play hockey (like you MUST purchase health insurance) or the institution of some kind of racial quota on every team on every level--it will be up to minorities themselves to join the sport and increase the diversity.
But to people like Sandy Banks and others that see anything with majority of white people involved, there must be racism present. Maybe in her next column she can suggest Donald Sterling sponsor a PGA golf tournament or start his own NASCAR team.