**UDATE** Laperriere spoke about his comments and better articulated his thoughts here.
Nothing like diminishing an accusasion of rape aside to keep it from getting in the way of a great story about a Flyers prospect. That is what Frank Saravalli- writer for the Philly News- and Flyer’s Director of Development, Ian Laperriere did in a recent article about prospect Nick Cousins.
The article (linked in full text above) starts off discussing the many accomplishments of Cousins, a 2011 third round draft pick and a leading scorerer in the OHL. It isn’t until 13 paragraphs into the article that the subject of pending rape charges against Cousins are discussed.
Many wondered whether Cousins was snubbed from the Super Series and Team Canada for his alleged off-ice transgressions. Cousins and two teammates were arrested on Aug. 25 for having sexual intercourse with an unnamed woman, known to the players, against her will.
It is absolutely mind boggling why the writer decided to phrase the charges in this manner. “…having sexual intercourse with an unnamed woman, known to the players, against her will.”
At the very least, this sentence could be summarized as “sexual assault” or “rape.”
The article treats the incident as though this is something that Cousins must rise up against. Like this is adversity. A road block in his career, not for the very serious accusation that it actually is.
Laperriere weighed in:
The embarrassing situation gave Cousins, the Greyhounds and the Flyers a collective black eye. It’s an image that he’s still trying to shed.
“At the pro level, teams expect you to be an adult and act like one,” Laperriere said. “He’s got a good heart . . . Let’s be honest, stuff like that has been happening forever. You can’t get away with anything now. He can’t put himself in those situations.
“He’s been in trouble with this stuff, but hopefully that’s all going to go away. Part of my job is telling him that he needs to learn from that. You need to be careful what you’re doing. All of our prospects need to learn from his situation.”
Yeah. The kid needs a firm talking to and sent to bed without supper to learn that he shouldn’t rape women (if the allegations are in fact true and he is found guilty at the trial).
I’m not sure if Laperriere is just poor at articulating his thoughts, or if he is totally dismissing the charges against Cousins. I am not going to say that the kid is a rapist, because I am not a detective investigating this case, nor am I the judge or jury. But this is a servere accusation and this cannot simply go away or downplay to say that this stuff “has been happening forever.”
Earlier today, Travis Hughes from Broad Street Hockey spoke with Laperriere. (And if you want to read Flyers blogs that are actually very well written and balanced, check out these guys.) He tweeted this:
I’m not going to attempt to figure out what Lappy meant in his comments, but this is a great example of “it’s not what you said, it was how you said it.” All of that aside, this article was garbage and Lappy’s comments sound as though he is trying to brush the rape charges under the rug.
I do not see Cousins as a stain on the Flyers organization or that his conduct is representative of the Flyers organization because that would be unfair. They-nor any team- could possibly fathom that one of their prospects would conceive of harming another person in this way. But Lappy must be held accountable for his statements and the writer of this article is just as irresponsible in his phrasing.
A verdict may not have been delivered yet where Cousins and his involvement are concerned, but this situation needs to be treated with care. The alleged victim and all rape victims deserve that much. In the wake of what happened in Stuebenville within the last few months, how athletes are treated with regard to rape charges is very much a hot topic.
Don’t give anyone a pass on rape allegations, especially if they are proven to be true. This subject needs to be treated seriously so that people will take it seriously. This article does nothing to help promote safety from sexual assault and abuse. All it does in my eyes, is say that these accusations are hurting this kid’s hockey career.