One of the most disappointing aspects from the NHL's handling of the findings from the investigation into the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks and former prospect Kyle Beach's decision to come forward as the victim of Bradley Aldrich's sexual abuse was Gary Bettman and the league's refusal to accept or acknowledge a semblance of moral obligation.
It seems predictable now after the mother of 'John Doe 2' spoke about the heartbreak of her son being sexually abused by Aldrich with TSN's Rick Westhead, the NHL is doubling down on that stance.
In an effort, ostensibly, to continue to stay separate from the legal process, the NHL has reportedly informed the legal team for 'John Doe 2' that it will not cover any cost associated with his and his family's suffering and will instead "leave that matter" to the Blackhawks, according to Westhead.
Update: The NHL has informed a lawyer for "John Doe 2" that the league will not cover costs of counselling/therapy for him and his family.
An NHL employee wrote in an email the league will leave that matter for the Blackhawks to manage, JD2's lawyer said.
— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) November 9, 2021
Even an inch, at least it seems, is an admission of fault the league refuses to open itself up to.
While on the surface cold and another example of morality paling in comparison to legality, hopefully the NHL's unwavering commitment to not helping those who were hurt due to negligences and misplaced priority in its ecosystem will lead to action.
In some ways now challenged, choosing not to help 'John Doe 2' would belie the promises the Blackhawks made while guaranteeing to restore an ethical standard within its organization.
'John Doe 2's' mother's interview with Westhead was incredibly difficult to watch, but an essential reminder of how action, or inaction, is so dangerous. Aldrich's abuse should have ended with Beach, but the failures of certain members inside the organization allowed the former video coach to continue abusing vulnerable athletes — including 'John Doe 2' — from a position of power until his eventual arrest.
The NHL fined the Blackhawks $2 million for "inadequate internal procedures and insufficient and untimely response" to allegations reported by an employee.
It will require a fraction of that incredibly lenient punishment for the Wirtzs and Blackhawks organization to provide 'John Doe 2' and his family with the assistance it needs.
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