Credit to Author: Manisha Krishnan| Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2021 18:16:19 GMT
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he’s “deeply disappointed” in the Montreal Canadiens’ decision to draft a hockey player who engaged in sexual misconduct.
Speaking to reporters, Trudeau said his favourite hockey team demonstrated a “lack of judgement” by drafting defenceman Logan Mailloux, 18, as a first-round pick last week.
“I think they have a lot of explaining to do,” Trudeau said.
As first reported by the DailyFaceoff, last November Mailloux covertly took a photograph of a then 18-year-old woman performing oral sex on him and shared the image with his teammates while he was playing for the SK Lejon team in Sweden. He also shared a screenshot revealing her identity. When the victim found out, she confronted Mailloux and reported the incident to police. Swedish police charged Mailloux with defamation and offensive photography; he was fined around $2,100, according to the DailyFaceoff.
Before the draft, Mailloux said in a statement he didn’t want to be picked.
"The NHL Draft should be one of the most exciting landmark moments in a player's career, and given the circumstances, I don't feel I have demonstrated strong enough maturity or character to earn that privilege in the 2021 draft,” he wrote. “If I were ever to have the honour of being selected I would want a fanbase to be proud to welcome me to their organization.”
The Belle River, Ontario native said he would rather play for the London Knights in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) next season to “demonstrate an adequate level of maturity and character.” The OHL is one of three major junior hockey leagues in Canada, and is one the main feeder leagues worldwide for the NHL draft.
The Canadiens, which recently had a surprise run to the Stanley Cup Finals before losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning, drafted Mailloux nonetheless. Other NHL teams reportedly blacklisted Mailloux due to his conduct.
Trudeau is hardly the only one criticizing the Habs’ decision to draft Mailloux.
Ottawa-based women’s rights advocate Julie Lalonde—who is a Habs fan—told CityNews said the team’s managers are sending a message that “they don’t care about sexual assault survivors.”
“They’ve definitely given carte blanche to future players to do whatever the heck they want and to still get drafted,” she added.
Lalonde pointed out that sending nudes without consent is considered sexual assault under Canada’s Criminal Code.
Several of the Canadiens’ Quebec-based sponsors have also expressed reservations about their relationship with the team in light of the decision.
In a prepared statement at the time of his drafting, the team defended its decision and said it was “by no means” downplaying the severity of Mailloux’s actions.
“By drafting prospect Logan Mailloux with the 31st overall pick, the Montreal Canadiens organization not only selected a promising hockey player, but also a young man who recently admitted to making a serious mistake,” the statement said.
"We are making a commitment to accompany Logan on his journey by providing him with the tools to mature and the necessary support to guide him in his development. We are also committed to raising awareness among our players about the repercussions of their actions on the lives of others."
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