Let me be clear. I have not been a fan of hockey since I was a boy, when only six teams constituted the NHL. However, I am struck by the disparity in details between a newspaper and a television news report surrounding the conduct and arrest of former Leaf enforcer Tiger Williams for incidents that occurred on a military flight to Latvia, a flight intended to boost the morale of Canadian troops overseas.
Here is how the Toronto Star reports it:
Former NHL player Dave “Tiger” Williams has been charged with sexual assault and assault following incidents on-board a Canadian military flight as he headed overseas for a morale-boosting visit with deployed troops.Now here is the unsanitized version of the event, as reported by Global News. You need only watch about the first 52 seconds to learn of two crucial details omitted from the Star report, details of Williams' behaviour that can only be described as shameful and disgraceful:
“The charges related to reported incidents during a Canadian Armed Forces flight to Latvia,” said navy Lt. Blake Patterson, spokesperson for Canadian Forces Provost Marshal and military police.
“The accused was a passenger . . . the victim reported the assault during the flight,” he said Friday in an interview.
Williams could not be reached for comment. However, his lawyer, Michael Lacy, issued a statement urging people to hold off judgment.
“I understand from the police it is alleged that Tiger inappropriately touched the complainant over clothing on the buttocks,” Lacy said. “Tiger denies any wrongdoing and is confident he will be vindicated.”
...one official told the Star he believed the hockey player remained on the tour and was not sent home [emphasis mine].
For me, the stories are significant for two reasons:
First, the disparity between the two underscores the importance of getting our news from a variety of sources for a fuller picture of events.
Second, if Williams' conduct was as egregiously inappropriate as the Global News report suggests, why did the military not take immediate action against him, rather than letting him continue his participation in the tour?
Or is all of the military's recent talk about 'zero tolerance' for sexual harassment and assault merely PR and essentially meaningless?