Another banner day for hockey as Tampa Bay’s Ian Cole charged with grooming and sexual assault of a minor anonymous person on twitter. The Lightning have suspended Cole pending their own investigation and an investigation conducted by the NHL.
See how the Lightning responded:
“Our organization takes these allegations very seriously,” the team’s statement said. “While we continue to gather more details, we have decided to suspend Ian Cole pending the results of an investigation. No member of the organization, including the players, will comment further at this time.”
Cole denied the allegations in a statement released by his agent, saying he would cooperate with the investigation. “I take very seriously the allegations made against me today in an anonymous tweet,” Cole’s statement said. “I look forward to clearing my name and showing the NHL and the Tampa Bay Lightning that these allegations are baseless.”
I will free all of us from the complications and difficulty of investigating sexual assault and the power dynamics and trends of our society. What I will be watching, though unfortunately almost certainly never going to be answered, is that this woman’s claim includes the description of former teammates of Cole’s who admitted that Cole bragged about his alleged horrific acts. It would only take time for the NHL and/or the Lightning to talk to anyone who has played with Cole during his career. If her allegations are substantiated, wouldn’t it be interesting to see if his former or current teammates would still adhere to hockey’s oldest code and one that leads to almost all of the ingrained rot in the sport, which is whatever the locker room stays there and the team above all. Or will just one of them decide that the path to meaningful change means breaking that code, and that protecting women in the future means doing the right thing and affirming this woman’s story? How much does this code mean to kids who don’t play with Cole anymore? To those who still do? What are their priorities now after the “Hockey Canada Summer?”
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It would be nice to know.