DECADES OF DAMAGE – A BASN BLACK PAPER (PART ONE)

DECADES OF DAMAGE – A BASN BLACK PAPER (PART ONE)

By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor – in – Chief

BASN NEWSROOM 

 

“He (Peters) walked in before a morning pre-game skate and said ‘Hey Akim, I’m sick of you playing that Nigger Shit,’ ” Aliu told TSN, with Peters, who was then the Rockford Ice Hogs head coach, referring to Aliu’s selection of hip-hop music. “He said ‘I’m sick of hearing this ‘Niggers fucking other niggers in the ass’ stuff.’ 

He then walked out like nothing ever happened. You could hear a pin drop in the room, everything went dead silent. I just sat down in my stall, didn’t say a word.”

  • Akim Aliu’s statement in a locker room situation while a member of the Rockford Ice Hogs, a Chicago Blackhawks affiliate, in 2009…

(credit TSN and USA Today)

 

PHILADELPHIA (www.basnnewsroom.com) You know from a societal standpoint, someone’s ass is in trouble when the question:

“What’cha want?” is asked.

It took ten years, but now Akim Aliu is going to be asked that very question.

When pointing to where a story may sometimes begin, it is rarely a hand grenade like this lobbed into a crowded area; it is usually a statement akin to a cigarette butt chucked outside a passing car into the brush, where it gains momentum and swirls into…a wildfire.

Problem is, it’s not the first  time the word’s been said – especially in this sport. Matter of fact, there has been such a casual use of the word in the sport that many feel entitled to use it. Tony McKegney, the first Black star not a goalie that was given proper ice time to blossom in the NHL, once said  {paraphrasing} that ”he was called “Nigger” on the ice so much he thought it was his middle name.”

 

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John Vanbiesbrouck, former professional goaltender and once part owner and general manager of the Sault Ste. Marie “Soo” Greyhounds, once called his best player, Detroit Red Wings blue liner Trevor Daley, a Nigger to his teammates after griping about Daley’s play in a beat down by a local rival numerous times – so many times it embarrassed his teammates, who told him about it right away.

Daley quit the team and informed his agent, Bobby Orr (yes, THAT Bobby Orr) as to what had transpired. Being the icon Mr. Orr is, there was no doubt pressure to throw down on Vanbiesbrouck’s racist ass, who also interfered negatively in the career of goalie Kevin Weekes, (now an analyst with the NHL Network), in the late 1990s while he was among the goalies with the expansion Florida Panthers.

 

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Vanbiesbrouck resigned and Daley left the juniors to play with the Dallas Stars, Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins (where he helped win two Stanley Cups) and the Detroit Red Wings, where he currently resides on defense.

That incident seemingly resolved itself in 2003, fifteen years later (as if everyone was supposed to fucking forget) Vanbiesbrouck was added to the staff of USA Hockey…

Aliu, a second round draft choice of the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2007 Draft, was sent down to their minor league affiliate in Rockford. Bill Peters, the now former Calgary Flames coach, and former Ice Hogs coach who made the now infamous comment, was called on his racist bullshit, but it didn’t matter one fuckin’ bit, because Aliu dared to speak up, he was ‘rewarded’ with being down to the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL), the lowest level of pro hockey, in an attempt to bury him.

While Aliu wasn’t called a Nigger directly by Peters, he uttered it as if he was getting a hard on; and there were two teammates who were there for the whole incident. Of course, the first thing they did was verify what was said when the League was shamed into looking into it. Much to their chagrin, the incident – and what was said was accurately accounted for.

It didn’t help that previously while in the juniors, Aliu bucked the system by refusing to go along with a silly ass premise regarding hazing, refusing to stand naked in a bus station washroom; leading to a fight, suspension and fine.

We’ve seen Black athletes described as ‘surly’ and having ‘attitude problems’ if they’re not smiling like goofballs to make White fans and media feel at ease; but it is the height of cruelty and outright disrespect when someone in any control vein does it because they are confident that they will not be held accountable for their behavior…

Kinda makes you wonder who the real Nigger is, doesn’t it?

Ironically, this thread of Twitter Tweets from Aliu started to unravel with the firing of Toronto Maple Leafs’ head coach Mike Babcock earlier this season:

 

Not very surprising the things we’re hearing about Babcock. Apple doesn’t fall far from the Tree, same sort of deal with his protege in YYC. Dropped the N bomb several times towards me in the dressing room in my rookie year because he didn’t like my choice of music. First one to admit I rebelled against him. Wouldn’t you? And instead of remedying the situation, he wrote a letter to John McDonaugh and Stan Bowman to have me sent down to the ECHL – 20 year old on pace for 20 goals in his first pro year with zero PP/PK time was off to a great start in his pro career.

 

For those who don’t speak Airport, YYC is the key for Calgary, where Peters was on Babcock’s staff before moving on to the head coach spot in Carolina with the Hurricanes in 2014.

So having to grind through the minors seemed to be Aliu’s fate until he came to Calgary and made the big club for a cup of coffee in 2011. Aliu would play only seven games before heading back to the minor league grind, which also included a year in the Russian Super League (KHL)…

Now 29, Aliu is at a point where he will be at his peak or lose his skills quickly due to lack of ice time; because you can’t make time unless you get time. The nine years spirited away from him were more about scumbag people playing politics with his life instead of fairly assessing whether or not he could play.

Aliu met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in New York recently and expressed hope afterward that strong changes across the board would be realized…

Most important, let’s not pretend this bullshit didn’t happen in a vacuum. While the on-ice product has been improving, the growing pains expected with the changing of the Colour of Hockey have simply assured there will be minimal growing…and maximum pain; because this has been decades in the making.

 

Next time: THE BEST YOU NEVER SAW

Always outnumbered…never outgunned.

Copyright (c) Michael – Louis Ingram 2019 all rights reserved.

basneditor@basnnewsroom.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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