Saturday, 6 August 2022

Hit The Bricks, Loser

This is Mel Pearson. He's an unemployed coach as of today because he simply couldn't treat people with respect and dignity. He ran the University of Michigan Wolverines hockey team before an investigation into his conduct led to his dismissal, and it's about time that we, as a society, ensure that these men don't get back into hockey. That may sound harsh, but it seems appropriate after seeing a number of men leave his program before playing out their eligibility and potentially forgoing careers that pointed to the NHL. No one should hold that kind of power, so Pearson's dismissal seems quite justified in the wake of the investigation given to the school in May. Adios, ├ęse.

Former NHLer and Michigan student Steve Shields filed a formal complaint in September 2021 as a volunteer coach for the Wolverines, and the investigation into Pearson's conduct began. Among the findings reported were allegations that Pearson allowed Director of Hockey Operations Rick Bancroft to remain employed despite having knowledge of sexual misconduct committed by the late Dr. Robert Anderson at the school, misleading recruits about how much scholarship money they would receive, mistreatment and overlooking mistreatment of women and student-athletes, and pressuring student-athletes to lie about COVID-19 contact tracing during the 2020-21 season.

University of Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manual issued a statement on Friday that read,
"It has been determined that Mel Pearson will not return as our ice hockey coach," Manuel said in a statement. "This decision has been weighed heavily and for some time. We welcomed an independent third-party review into the climate and culture of our program before furthering our assessment in lockstep with campus leadership.

"Our student-athletes having a positive and meaningful experience is of paramount importance, and a clear expectation within our department is that all employees and staff are valued and supported. I deeply appreciate and value the many individuals who came forward throughout this review.

"Today's announcement reflects the seriousness with what we've heard and the values we hold dear at Michigan."
Anyone else starting to get a little sick of people who hold power abusing that power while administrators sit by idly and do nothing? I don't understand how a simple thing like accountability seems to fall to the wayside by these organizations, but it seems like athletic directors are more than happy to look the other way as long as the team is winning and generating money.

Katie Strang of The Athletic deserves a major stick-tap for bringing this story to light and following it through to its conclusion. MLive's coverage of this story has been exceptional as well.

Among some of the more morally-reprehensible things that Pearson did as per the findings included forcing a former team captain out of the program, provided information to investigators that was determined to be "not credible", and breeding a "pervasive fear" within the program among players and staff regarding retaliation of they stepped out of line. If this is starting to make you wonder how Pearson did all this as part of the University of Michigan's athletic department with being reported before Shields stepped forward, we have the same questions.

Based on the investigation's findings, I don't know if any former players will look to file civil suits against Pearson and/or the University of Michigan, but the first step in correcting a major problem on the University of Michigan campus has happened with Pearson being dismissed. If the Wolverines take a step back when it comes to wins and losses, that's a small price to pay if the program sees its culture improve. Pearson was a cancer at the University of Michigan based on the investigation's findings, and removing him from his position of power where he could affect so many lives, mostly negatively, is a win for the program in the bigger picture no matter what anyone says.

Fixing the culture of hockey at any and all levels means that some people, once seen as winners due to their success on the ice, should be forced to wear the adjectives they truly are: abuser, liar, embarrassment, and loser. Ruling through fear and mistreating the people who tried to help the program win isn't how winners behave, so let's start ensuring that we hold these people accountable by describing them accurately at any point in time going forward.

Mel Pearson should never work in hockey again after being dismissed today because he's a proven abuser, liar, embarrassment, and loser.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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