American advocacy group Child USA has petitioned the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) to suspend Stan Bowman. Bowman is the current GM of the Chicago Blackhawks and the U.S. Men’s Olympic team. The petition is calling for his suspension from the U.S. Men’s Olympic team ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympic games in Beijing, according to TSN’s Rick Westhead. The petition comes after allegation surfaced that Bowman helped cover up the sexual abuse of two Chicago Blackhawks players by then- video coach Brian Aldrich in 2010.
In the letter obtained by Westhead, Child USA writes to USOPC head Sarah Hirshland: “I write to you today to request the suspension of Stan Bowman from his position as general manager of the U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team and that an independent investigation into Bowman’s behavior in his role as general manager of hockey operations of the Blackhawks NHL team be conducted.” Moreover, the letter states “powerful institutions are essentially ignoring the fact that they have an abuser in their midst”. According to Westhead, spokespersons for the Blackhawks and USA Hockey have not responded to requests for comment.
Rick Westhead’s May 13 story breaking the allegations reveals disturbing details about events that happened during the 2010 season. Further investigation from Westhead alleges the incidents were widely known throughout the organization. However Blackhawks management chose not to take action.
What Comes Next?
Suspending Bowman from his post as GM of the US Olympic team should be a no-brainer and more than enough evidence has come to light to easily merit suspension. Allowing Bowman to stay on shows that the USOPC values one’s performance over accountability for one’s actions. Additionally, it shows that the USOPC is okay with brushing aside serious accusations of covering up sexual assault in pursuit of Olympic glory. This cannot happen.
It is doesn’t matter that the Blackhawks as an organization has yet to take action against Bowman. The Chicago Blackhawks show time and again that it has no interest in accountability. For instance, Patrick Kane’s alleged sexual assault in 2015 or Bill Peters using racial slurs against Akim Aliu in 2009. The Blackhawks have shown that they’re willing to overlook accusations of abuse and misconduct if it means success on ice.
The USOPC needs to hold a higher standard. Ultimately they are responsible for choosing individuals who represent the United States of America in International competition at the highest level. Standards cannot be limited to success in the front office. Above all, personal integrity must be at the top of the list; moreover, the allegations presented call Stan Bowman’s personal integrity into question. The pursuit of success should not mean the sacrifice of our morals.
In short, representing one’s country at the highest level of competition in the world is a privilege, not a right. One in this position should show superior (or at least not awful) character. To me, Stan Bowman has lost that privilege to represent the U.S. as GM of the Men’s Olympic Hockey team.