Florida governor Ron DeSantis’ obsession with anything that is of interest to minorities or marginalized groups has gone past disturbing. In his worldview, the only discrimination that matters is anything that benefits disadvantaged communities. The newest target of his anti-woke diatribes is the NHL. On Feb. 2, the NHL advertised a job conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., which will launch a diversity initiative called the Pathway to Hockey Summit. The event was described on Linkedin as being exclusive to female, black, Asian, Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, LGBTQ, disabled individuals, and veterans.
As if an NHL advertisement wasn’t already an obvious invite to white Americans, Florida’s governor trained his focus on the league’s efforts to attract candidates from different backgrounds. DeSantis’ press secretary Bryan Griffin released a statement, which said:
“Discrimination of any sort is not welcome in the state of Florida, and we do not abide by the woke notion that discrimination should be overlooked if applied in a politically popular manner or against a politically unpopular demographic.”
Added Griffin, “We are fighting all discrimination in our schools and our workplaces, and we will fight it in publicly accessible places of meeting or activity. We call upon the National Hockey League to immediately remove and denounce the discriminatory prohibitions it has imposed on attendance to the 2023 ‘Pathway to Hockey’ summit.”
The NHL’s diversity problem
An internal report executed by the NHL in 2022 found that their employees were 83.6 percent white. All those words to stoke fears that the NHL is about to purge white people en masse from their workforce are indicative of the clown show DeSantis runs. DeSantis’ minions are turning on the theatrics to target minority-targeted efforts is old hat.
He’s a meretricious political huckster interested in advancing his own personal ambition at the expense of people of color. It’s why he’s latched onto his party’s obsession with Critical Race Theory with legislative vindictiveness towards African-Americans or the state’s Don’t Say Gay laws vilification of the LGBTQ community. Next in his crosshairs are throwing a wrench in the gears to slow efforts by colleges to improve diversity and inclusion.
If there’s anyone DeSantis and Co. should be looking at critically, it’s themselves in the mirror. The criticism of the NHL’s (ahem) “discrimination” is rooted in an ongoing effort to maintain the good old boy network that has hindered minority candidates for decades since legalized segregation ended. He’s also a hypocrite.
After winning the governor’s race in 2018, DeSantis himself made vacuous overtures to the black community, touting his own administration’s diversity efforts during an address to constituents at a historically black church on his first MLK Jr. Day in the office.
“I don’t want to just be putting people in from some good ol’ boys network. I want to be putting people in from all walks of life,” DeSantis told a largely black audience at First Baptist Church Piney Grove’s sanctuary. “And I think if you look at my total appointments, I don’t think there’s any peer recently, at least in Florida, of the number of African Americans we’ve put in.”
The NHL should pull the All-Star Game from Florida
Three years later, his reversal tells you everything you need to know about his expedient slide further right to cater to the radical bigots within his party who have wrangled away control of his party’s presidential nomination process.
Florida has set itself up as a hub for the New Southern Strategy that uses dog whistles to generate antipathy for equality. If the NHL has any dignity or respect for minorities, they’d remove their upcoming All-Star Game from the state. Besides, it’s Florida. They won’t even miss it or notice it’s gone.
Midway through 2022, the San Jose Sharks hired Mike Grier to be the first Black NHL general manager in the league’s 105-year history. The league’s wokeness agenda might result in a second black GM being hired in the NHL sometime in the next century, and that’s a bridge too far for some.
Using DeSantis’ twisted logic, one of the most homogenous professional sports leagues in the United States should be penalized for making even the most rudimentary attempts to attract minority candidates on LinkedIn. Those are the trolling depths Florida’s government leader has gone to burnish his reputation as the pro-white candidate. DeSantis is the political manifestation of the idea that the puck being slapped around discriminates against the ice.
The battle against corporate wokeness is a backdoor effort to prevent more Mike Griers from matriculating into NHL C-suite spaces or into any industries that have excluded minorities for decades. Thirty years ago, it was the DeSantis’ of the world taking up arms against affirmative action. Same game, different branding. DeSantis is the new political stick knocking African-Americans around like a puck on ice.
The same political party that has spent decades fighting diversity tooth and nail since the Southern Strategy has turned around and openly declared war on minorities and labeled diversity as the new discrimination.
Diversity is just about the only thing DeSantis has fought as Florida governor. On Monday, he’ll probably deliver some MLK Day speech where he’ll misconstrue King’s words and paint himself as a modern-day warrior for equality while his actions are the opposite of everything the man believes in.
BTW, the NHL caved to DeSantis, now saying the event is open to anyone 18 or over.