Having faith in the justice system

As much as I’d like to write about the upcoming season, I’m still processing the fact that the Oilers brought in a guy who was accused of sexual assault and is still facing a civil suit. Ahead of such a promising season where the Oilers have a competitive roster featuring two of the best players in the world, the Oilers chose to bring in a lot of unnecessary noise. Not only have the Oilers continued to demonstrate that they really don’t care about the public’s perception of their actions and their corporate values, it’s also clear that they’re still struggling to evaluate their roster situation and assess professional-level players. PTO’s are a great way to bring in undervalued assets who can create legitimate competition in camp. Adding Virtanen doesn’t provide any on-ice solutions or improve the chances of the Oilers winning a cup. All it’s really done so far is expose the Oilers lack of social awareness, overshadow a lot of the positive stories coming out of training camp this season  – and have fans question if supporting this team with their time and money is really worth it.

And what’s really bothered me since Virtanen joined the Oilers camp is how the Oilers are trying to justify it all, with Ken Holland specifically pointing to his faith in the legal system.

“The most important thing is he went through the legal system, he went to a court of law, and a jury found him not guilty,” Holland explained to reporters.

“…The biggest thing for me is to have faith in the legal system and if we lose faith in the legal system I don’t think that’s a good thing. … I’m trusting the legal system to offer a pro tryout and now over two weeks we will evaluate him, and if he’s not good enough from a hockey standpoint, we will release him.” (Source: Sportsnet)

What these comments really demonstrate is an organization’s lack of awareness regarding the current justice system, the different experiences people have had with the system and the flaws that governments are trying to improve on. There are worldwide movements as a result of the justice system including Black Lives Matter, which are focusing more attention on the systemic issues and demanding change. The provincial court of Alberta recently developed a justice strategy to better meet the needs of Indigenous people. The federal government in Canada has an initiative underway to enhance the criminal justice system recognizing system delays and inefficiencies, the over-representation of Indigenous people as offenders and victims, the lack of support for vulnerable populations and the low rate of sexual assault reporting.

But despite all of this, the general manager of the Edmonton Oilers is pointing to his faith in the justice system to justify adding a player, disregarding the negative experiences people have had with the justice system – especially women, Indigenous communities and people of color. We know the justice system tends to serve those with power and privilege, and it’s clear that the Oilers front office, especially those who made the decision to add Virtanen, are in that group.

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11 thoughts on “Having faith in the justice system

  1. I disagree completely. Do we really want employers to act as judge and jury on unfounded accusations and rumours?

    If he is innocent, he has went through a huge ordeal, had his character tarnished, and will never be looked at or treated the same. Now to compound that we want to add ending his career?

    The justice system is there for a reason. A person is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, and there was obviously not enough evidence to find him guilty. To me that means society should treat him as innocent.

    • Agreed. This article shows very little understanding of how our system works. It’s a failure, somewhere, to educate people on basic civics.

  2. In this article you haven’t addressed any facts specific to Virtanen’s being found not guilty in a court of law. Instead, you’re attempting to ostracize and destroy a man purely based upon general narrative. This tells me you have no interest in due process, and no interest in “innocent until proven guilty” which are fundamental tenets of a just society. What you are doing is what was done in Salem during the witch hunts: guilty until proven innocent, all in the name of virtue signalling your wokeness. How very millennial of you. This article is not a thoughtful take on the facts of the case, but rather a drive by smear using generalizations about a person’s race and gender. Also, your insinuation that Virtanen is still somehow guilty despite being found not guilty in a court of law, borders on libel. Nick Sandman got millions from CNN when they falsely smeared him based upon woke narrative, rather than facts. Are you prepared to pay Virtanen the same? Perhaps choose your words more carefully next time.

  3. Know what’s unjust? People judging people and subjecting them to harsh consequences based on rumour, innuendo or the most popular tweet. It’s happened to me and altered my life, not in a good way. I hope that you might learn to do better.

  4. Essentially you have just rendered this guy guilty by the court of public opinion. Do I think there are problems with sexual assault and athletes 100% , but, this is not the way to prove it. Bringing corrupt and violent organizations like BLM into the conversation doesn’t prove your point. All BLM has done is cast an unwarranted black eye on an already marginalized community and dragged a bunch of hypocritical and tone deaf athletes and politicians into its web of deceit.

  5. I’m assuming that most of the people even comments on this are white, but as a person of color I understand what he’s saying. How can you have faith and adjust the system that is broken and costs so much harm people that didn’t need it but they have documented all the cases in which the justice system didn’t work, and is in fact a major cog into the world’s issues. Just based on his hockey skill alone did not deserve a PTO. If you look at his KHL numbers in his last season the NHL and then you throw in the fact that he has all these suits against him. The juice isn’t worth the squeeze and for Ken Holland to come and say he has faith and the justice system when clearly over the past several years, but justice system has been proven to be an object. Failure is 100% ridiculous.

    And as white people and trust me I understand cuz I’m half white but I’m viewed as being black. The justice system is broken even in the name there is no justice. I’m pretty sure it’s less than 30% of sexual assault cases actually go into charges. So does that mean that 70% of these people are lying or is the system not equipped to deal and handle with these cases?

  6. If he is found innocent by his peers in a court of law that is the end of it. Period. Stick to hockey on ice stories and keep lefty politics out of your commentary.

  7. The Oilers did the exact same thing with Kane before Virtanen. Kane has had issues and lawsuits involving women outside of his ex-wife. Holland, Nicholson and Katz don’t care about optics. Their own egos and money are their priorities.

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