Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Garret Sparks got himself in some hot water. You’ve all seen the messages, they weren’t pretty, and shouldn’t be coming for a professional hockey player.
This might’ve have been scraped under the carpet had it been somewhere where one could just wander into the desert and go unseen, but not with the Toronto Maple Leafs. I’m always cautious to jump the gun upon seeing a single or just a couple of posts from a player. There has to be some context, and there is.
Context is key in a situation like this, once you scratch below the surface of the expletives you start to uncover a little more of the truth. From everything I have seen on social media, it is evident that Sparks was defending a man with both physical and mental disabilities.
Secondly, these chats took place on a private goalie group in which there was the assumption of privacy. Screenshots were taken by embittered members of that group as an attack on Sparks. I do not know Garret Sparks personally, nor am I claiming to, but it seems to me that although the words used were not appropriate.
There was a positive motive behind doing so. Goaltending in hockey is arguably one of the most stressful roles in sports, period. I feel that the media circus has gone a bit crazy with this one, considering which team it was.
@OvyBackyHoltby claims to be a goalie in the group that the messages took place. Stating that Sparks was “sabotaged” by members of the closed group who sent out screenshots.
Of course he massively lost his temper, the problem therein lies with the fact that he did so on social media. Brooks Laich had some advice for the young goaltender “Just leave emotion out of it, and always be aware the Internet is forever.” (Toronto Star)
It’s a prominent point from an experienced player, that anything you put on the internet can be seen or sent to other people, especially if you’re a professional hockey player in Toronto, regardless of the context.
My opinion on the whole fiasco? An apology, messages deleted, end of. A player’s career should not be in complete jeopardy because of some Facebook messages, I mean come on, this is hockey, they used to do a lot worse.