So, some students from University of Minnesota Duluth- where, I suppose, one could major in coming up with hockey chants- have been reprimanded for "racist chants" against the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux. The chants included something about "smallpox blankets". Obviously, the specific chants and taunts used aren't being reported, as who wants to reprint that shit?
This immediately reminded me of the 2006 NFC Championship game between Chicago and New Orleans, where one Bears fan held up a sign that said something like, "CHICAGO BEARS: FINISHING WHAT KATRINA STARTED." This is just that level of charming.
My obvious antipathy aside, I'm kinda torn here. I think the UofM students- and that Bears fan- clearly went too far. But I like a loud, boisterous crowd. I like chants and taunts that just kinda skirt the edge. I like the idea of fans getting in opposing teams' heads. And as anyone who's been to a college hockey game will know, the "smallpox blanket" thing, while by no means genteel, is also not the worst thing said at an average game. So, I don't know where to draw the line.
I think I'm going to just be a pussy and say no line needs to be drawn at all. Going back to what I said in the Tim Thomas post, the answer to bad speech is more speech. So, the UofM students are free to say whatever ugly, racist shit they can justify to themselves- and the rest of us can say that they're being ugly, unjustified racists. Maybe that kind of public embarrassment won't be enough to reign in these kinds of douchebags. But I'd like to try it before we start treating a hockey game like a tennis match in the queen's personal box.