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The Mailloux Redemption

Author’s note: This piece represents the opinion of the writer and no one else.

By JAG – It’s been just about a year now since the Montreal Canadiens elected to pick Logan Mailloux in the 2021 draft. I really didn’t know what to think of it then, it was upsetting to say the least. Now that some of the dust has settled …. And my personal emotions have cooled. I can speak my mind more freely.

One of the first thought that came to me when the public uproar happened after the draft was that if the young lady had been my daughter, my heart would have been filled with incommensurable rage.

Soon after that, I thought that if the young man had been my son, my heart would also have been filled with rage. Different kind of rage to be sure but rage nonetheless. And the more I thought about the situation the more I realized that there was nothing but hurt looming for both families involved. This was a sad story racing toward a sad ending …. And it still is!

It is undeniable that the Canadiens should have respected the public request of Mr. Mailloux NOT to be drafted. Considering the circumstances, it was unconscionable on their part to disrespect his request. Heads have rolled since then and the only partaker left in the organization is Mr. Molson …. Apparently, his head has a better neck attachment than others! However, to be fair, he has been on the Mea Culpa trail ever since and positive changes have been made.

I am not in a position to have personal insight on Logan Mailloux’ motivation for the non-drafting request but at least, I see that it shows recognition of his wrongdoing and acceptance of the repercussions and punishment thereof. You might say that one doesn’t get to pick one’s punishment. Fair enough, but Montreal never gave him a chance to do so, did they? They threw him and the victim under the media bus without a second thought.

Shame on them!

On my good days I’d like to think that if the Habs management had more time to let the testosterone level come down after the Cup final, a different decision might have been made …. But we’ll never know.

Is the young man genuinely contrite, I don’t know? It is for the professionals assessing and hopefully helping him to determine without the general public’s clear bias interfering with their assessment.

What I know is that so far, he has been sentenced and punished by a judge, kicked out the league he was playing in at the time of the offense, suspended by the OHL, stigmatized in the media, probed and watched by the Canadiens’ own ‘’Mailloux task force’’ and vilified in the public place. That is the punishment world’s has dealt him.

His own chosen path of atonement was through the request NOT to be drafted …. And other measures. Let’s be clear, when a young man realizes that he might be drafted, it has to be the best day of his hockey life. Therefore, resolving to request NOT to be drafted has to be the worst day one’s hockey life …. This is not light punishment, it is life altering punishment.

Those who asked for a thousand deaths as punishment may not be satisfied by all this, but not all of us are that extreme. I am not asking people to forgive and forget. I am not that naïve! This world of ours is way too mean for that. Let the self-appointed judges and executioners rest in peace. Even if Logan Mailloux ever redeems himself and regain respect by doing so, in the end, he will always have a sword of Damocles over his head!

Wokes and haters will be watching him at every turn, always there waiting for him to fall so they can pounce and deliver their righteous venom. Even for the harshest critic, isn’t a life sentence severe enough?

It doesn’t mean that I disagree with the judge’s sentence or the leagues suspending him, not at all. In fact, I think it was rightly deserved.

However, I do have serious issues with him being stigmatized in the media, probed and watched by the Canadiens’ own ‘’Mailloux task force’’ and vilified in the public place. Issues serious enough to wonder if Montreal, its media and the Canadiens will ever give Logan Mailloux a fair chance to show what kind of young man he really is.

Before this stupid mistake, as far as I know, he was known as a fine young man. But even if he was no better than an okay guy, he’s not a repeat offender or a hardened criminal. He’s a young man that made one very stupid, hurtful decision. In the end, my question is this, is Montreal a city where his redemption is possible?

Starting with the media. Both young people involved have stated clearly that they wanted out of the public eye ASAP. Consequently, every time some media person mentions his name with an asterisk mentioning his ignominies, it keeps the story in the public eye and you the media, yes you, are willfully keeping the wound open and the hurt alive. This is wrong. Who gave the media the mantle of judge and executioner?

And every time you create one of them smart list of the ‘’Top ten’’ of this and the ‘’Top fifteen’’ of that and you deliberately omit his name but make a point of mentioning that you omitted him for the reasons that every body already knows, you are also willfully keeping the wound open and the hurt alive. What kind of ‘‘woke media’’ is that?

Can we just ease up a little and give him a fair chance to rise from this mistake? Can we start by NOT putting an asterisk by his name, every time, and start treating him like any other prospect? The kid needs a solid dose of ‘’normal’’ and some people can’t stop treating him like a pariah. Let me tell you this, wokeness without a path to redemption is just bigotry by another name!

Then there is the Habs overreaction. Habs’ management doesn’t seem to know where it stands …. Or what it should do! I can’t recall any other player, regardless of mistakes made, that seem to have his own dedicated task force.

Is he a Canadien or is he not? If he is, let him be one of the boys and give him the same treatment as everybody else! At this point in this story, he might need more ‘’normal’’ support and less of the hawkish surveillance he seems to be under!

I can’t say anything that will stop the haters’ vilification, snakes will be snakes! There’s nothing you can do about that! However, if the media could find enough heart to treat the young man for what he is and leave the past alone, he might just redeem himself. And if the Habs can let the young man be a hockey player for a while, the game being a good life teacher, it may just help him find his way back to a normal life.

Many of us have made stupid mistakes before and have become better people because of the lessons we learned, we had a chance to redeem ourselves. Don’t we owe Logan Mailloux the same opportunity?

Thank you for reading.

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