Commentary – Former Portland Winterhawks Player Brendan Leipsic Waived From The Washington Capitals

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Last week, former Portland Winterhawks player Brendan Leipsic was embroiled in major controversy. A group Instagram was hacked into and revealed to everyone. Snapshots of the texts were posted online for all to see. In the Instagram, comments were made about former Leipsic teammates, their wives, drug use and other topics which were very derogatory. The texts and so on will not be provided here as there are many ways to see them if you wish.

On Friday, the Washington Capitals placed Brendan Leipsic on unconditional waivers to terminate his contract 

Brendan Leipsic then took to twitter to address the situation with his own apology.

“Yesterday my friend’s Instagram account was hacked and an individual circulated images that are representative of private conversations I was a part of, I fully recognize how inappropriate and offensive these comments are and sincerely apologize to everyone for my actions. I am committed to learning from this and becoming a better person by taking time to determine how to move forward in an accountable, meaningful way. I am truly sorry.”

The National Hockey League chimed in with a statement of their own a day later.

“The National Hockey League strongly condemns the misogynistic and reprehensible remarks made by players Brendan Leipsic and Jack Rodewald in a private group chat that has surfaced on social media. There is no place in our League for such statements, attitudes and behavior, no matter the forum. We will address this inexcusable conduct with the clubs and players involved.”

Brendan Leipsic is no stranger to controversy. In Game 2 of Round 1 in 2014, he passed behind Vancouver Giants goaltender Payton Lee and proceeded to drink from the water bottle. For this he received a two minute unsportsmanlike penalty and in the coming days, the Booster Club created a water bottle cling that resembled the one he consumed from. The clings sold out in days, and the next season the team created a white water bottle with Leipsic 28 as a giveaway. The humor was long lasting and not done harmfully. 

The latest incident involving the exposed group Instagram is a much different matter. People have argued on both sides of the issue. One side says his behavior is unacceptable, this and the other side says this was a private matter. No matter which side you are on, the discussion is around privacy.

How far can people go into your private life no matter how seedy you live? If it has been leaked or hacked, should the leaker or hacker receive any consequences and what should those be? In this day of social media where everything is known in an instant, the reaction time has got to be as quick and the punishment just as quick even if all the facts aren’t in just yet.

While Brendan is not denying that he said things that were disturbing in a group chat, that others can think such things and receive no repercussions is a tough pill to swallow. The idea that we hold professional athletes or other celebrities to higher standards is indeed the way we seem to go and then get very bent out of shape when they don’t live up to those is one that many people have a tough time dealing with. Are we expecting people to be holier than thou when it comes to private conversations? What is the expectation of that privacy? Until this was brought out, the people wouldn’t have known what type of person he was. Would people have just gone on with their lives if this hadn’t been exposed?

Other “sports” pundits have suggested that he, alone, is some kind of cretin for thinking some of the things said. I disagree. There are many times where people think things—don’t necessarily write them—but sometimes we do. There’s other times that we think of them just for a moment. Maybe that person in the store, a car, at work or elsewhere in life. We may regret saying them, but they have been said or thought, written or even acted upon. 

With everything under a huge microscope especially with the way the world is now, do we take his words at face value as to the type of person he is or do we suggest that he said these things, do the time for the crime and move on?

In the past few years things like the #METOO Movement and others that have come along because of what has been said or done and it is long past the time to openly discuss. One can see the plethora of TV and Radio commercials that try to broach the subject. It is very good to be able to talk about things, express opinions and learn more about each other.

It is doubtful that his career will bear the brunt of this assault if only because of the fast reactions in an otherwise desolate and quiet sports world. 

I write this not to be the judge of the events, but instead to open up a dialogue. In all honesty, I’m not sure where I would side.

Jeremy Leipsic Brendan’s younger brother was dismissed from the team at the University of Manitoba. Jeremy had attended a Winterhawks camp, didn’t make the team and subsequently finished his career in Manitoba. Jeremy was identified as one of the members of the Instagram chat group. Who will be next to fall?

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About Author

Stuart Kemp

Stuart Kemp is the President of the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club since 2008 and has been following hockey from his native Canada since he can remember, though he can't skate, but played road hockey for several years. Loving hockey and professional wrestling, he has traveled to most of the WHL cities and with wrestling, has seen four provinces and five states. It is true that every Canadian city with more than 500 residents has a hockey rink, well at least it looks that way. Stuart has had his hand in every facet of independent Professional wrestling as he debuted as an announcer in 1986 which started his career.

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