The NHL today suspended Andrew Shaw of the Chicago Blackhawks for one game and fined him $5,000 for using a gay slur during Game 4 of the series against the St. Louis Blues. Shaw will also be required to undergo sensitivity training.
The suspension is a great move by the NHL, which has partnered with the You Can Play Play Project to make the sport a safe environment for gay players. Having a player sit out a playoff game does send a message, since these games what are they live for.
In lieu of sensitivity training, the NHL should have Shaw spend an afternoon with Chris Hine, the openly gay Blackhawks beat writer for the Chicago Tribune. Hine said last night that the slur "is one of the reasons why gay athletes everywhere stay closeted and often live lives of torment." Shaw will learn a lot from Hine about what it means to be gay in sports. They are about the same age and share the same love of the sport, so speak the same language. It could be that "teachable moment" we always hear about.