The Importance of the Past: The Case of Artemi Panarin

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In 2012, Chicago Blackhawks Artemi Panarin wasn’t even a sparkle in Blackhawks fan’s eyes.  He was a prodigy in Russia though.  The young winger was making headlines in his play for the KHL–the Russian professional hockey league.  However, he is making headlines now for all the wrong reasons.  A Youtube video that surfaced has Panarin talking with former teammate Yaroslav Tulyakov, about different scenarios including such things as “What would you do if you never played hockey?” and “What would you never do?”  Panarin responded to the last question with, “Have sex with a black woman.”

The Blackhawks made a statement concerning the Youtube video.  “On Sunday, we were made aware of the video from Artemi’s appearance on a Russian TV show in 2012,” the team said. “We immediately addressed the matter with him. His comments in the video in no way represent the values of our organization. He has apologized and understands the offensive nature of his words.”

The Calder Trophy winner has apologized for his comments but should he have?

According to the Metis foundation there are 40,000 Afro-Russians in Russia out of a population of about 144,550,000 people.  Racism is pretty common in the country and the sentiment towards black people is pretty stiff.  According to the Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy a study found that over half of Africans in Moscow had been physically attacked in the past.  Panarin has never had to really deal with Black people in his life–and probably didn’t think that his statement was a big deal.  Panarin was 21.  I said some horrible things at the age of 21 and younger–I’m glad they didn’t have a camera recording me.

There are plenty of women that I would never date.  It’s a non issue.  But someone decided to dig up this story and try to make it an issue and make this story about race. Why? To fuel hatred towards the Blackhawks?  To fuel hatred towards statements of racial issues?  If he would have said “…have sex with a white woman” we don’t have a story here.  But he said, “have sex with a black woman” and now all of a sudden we have to make a million statements and a million apologies.  Also, why do the Blackhawks have to apologize?  Panarin wasn’t a member of the Blackhawks in 2012.  He was a member of the KHL.  If i make a statement right now that is racially fueled (Don’t worry, I won’t), and later on get a job does my future boss have to issue an apology for my statements today?

The Chicago Blackhawks have ran into issues with Patrick Kane’s behavior in the past and this is just another hiccup that the Blackhawks PR department has to try and fix.  It’s absolutely ridiculous though.  Statements that we’re made in 2012 should have no bearing to anything in 2017.  I’m so glad they didn’t have Youtube when I was a kid.  I wouldn’t want things i said to come back and bite me in the butt.  Things I believed when i was a kid, I don’t necessarily believe anymore.  People change.  The past doesn’t.  Hopefully Patrick Kane can teach Panarin a lesson and try to get him to realize that everything he says can AND WILL be used against him especially by the press.  Whenever the public feels like it they will try to take advantage of you.  It’s unfortunate but it’s a part of life.

But the Blackhawks play it right.  Have everyone apologize, distance themselves from the situation and try to sweep it under the rug.  Don’t want to upset anyone, and don’t want to leave the door open for further talking.  I just don’t understand why we even had to talk about it in the first place.  We need to stop getting so offended by everything.  Those are his personal preferences.  If you have a certain type in the opposite sex, you are just as bad as he is.  You need to be willing to date anyone.  If this is you I applaud you, but I am not willing to date everyone.  I don’t care what color you are, I care what your personality is.  Let’s not make this  more of an issue than it already is.

 

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