Nathan Gerbe Should Be Pissed…

October 24, 2011


I was watching Law & Order: SVU over the weekend while G was asleep on my lap.   Last week’s episode may have lost them a viewer, but I’m sad to say it may not be for the reasons it should be.

!!SPOILER ALERT!!  In the episode, an unmarried couple from Buffalo (my current city, dontcha know) reports their car as stolen with their infant inside.  As the detectives investigate, it comes to light that the boyfriend may be physically abusive.  The girlfriend’s sister, while trash-talking the boyfriend, indicates that the infant was going to me named “Ty” but that the boyfriend wanted to name the baby “Nathan” after Nathan Gerbe of the Buffalo Sabres (that’s my hockey team, for those of you who aren’t followers of such things).  In response the new tough-but-southern-and-therefore-supposed-to-be-likeable detective says to Ice-T’s character, “He leads the team in penalty minutes,” in the same tone that she might have said, “he steals kids’ candy and beats up women.”

Now.  Firstly, If you’re going to pick on a hockey player for being a bruiser, go pick an ACTUAL bruiser.  Don’t get me wrong, it is indeed true that Gerbe did lead the team in penalty minutes last season.  However, it should be noted that: a) penalties are actually part of hockey strategy (when a team is playing well and people aren’t making stupid mistakes), and most are not particularly violent in any classic use of the term; b) Nathan Gerbe is a seriously hard-working skater, and seems like a really nice guy and a good sportsman; c) the violent part of hockey is the perfectly expected and acceptable** fighting, and Gerbe isn’t our team’s most egregious fighter by any stretch of the imagination.

My god, if you want to pick someone on our team as an example of violence, you’d probably have to go with Patrick Kaleta.  Part of his JOB on our team is to be muscle.  He’s supposed to make big hits, and be an enforcer, and be a hockey fighter (if you like hockey fights, this is a really good example of someone getting hammered by Kaleta).  Luckily, he also scores sometimes, skates hard, is a great team player, and is not one-dimensional by any means.

But here’s the thing.  I wouldn’t have them use Kaleta’s name in that context, either.  I think it’s just not cool to drop a player’s name for the sole purpose of indicating that liking that player indicates a violent nature, let alone to link a player’s name in any way to domestic violence.

Shame on you, SVU.  I know you were looking to inject realistic local color, but I think you made a bad move.

** I’ll have to post another time about my feelings on fighting in hockey.  It is an interesting issue, more so now that I have a little boy who may one day play.


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