Blackhawks Might Win Legally, But Are Losing Ethically With Their Handling Of The Brad Aldrich Sexual Assault Case

The motion offers two main arguments. First, the Hawks argue they “under Illinois law...[have] no duty to protect an individual from the criminal acts of a third party,” given they neither knew Doe 2 nor employed Aldrich at the time.

Second, the Hawks argue the claim in the original lawsuit that they provided “positive references to future employers of Aldrich” is “vague and factually unsupported.” They also argue the lawsuit’s lack of allegation claiming they provided positive reference specifically to Houghton High School is a “fatal omission,” rendering irrelevant any arguments about whether they provided positive references to other employers.

Rick Westhead and Ben Pope have done a great job reporting on the Brad Aldrich related sexual assault lawsuits against the Blackhawks. Their job is to report. My job is to give opinions. My opinion is that the Blackhawks handling of this situation SUCKS. It's disgusting. 

From the initial comment saying that the filings have no merit, followed by an internal memo saying don't say anything while we are doing an investigation while not committing to making the findings of the investigation public. It's honestly genuinely bothering me and at least anecdotally from fans I talked to outside of the United Center this weekend at the Windy City Smokeout it is bothering the vast majority of the fan base. 

Danny Wirtz took over at least in part because the Blackhawks culture had become rotten under John McDonough. If things had been sailing along smoothly, regardless of what was happening on the ice, I don't think the Wirtz family would've felt the need to remove McDonough and eat the remaining 12 MILLION dollars(reportedly) they owed to him on his contract. 

I understand, from a business and legal perspective, why the Blackhawks would file motions to dismiss. They probably have legal grounds to stand on there and maybe the case will be dismissed and the victims of these assaults get zero justice because the courts, of course, go by the letter of the law. No, the players bringing the suits weren't legal minors. You know what they were...18 year old kids. They were draft picks. Prospects called up in 2010 to be Black Aces as the Hawks went on their first playoff run. I've heard people(meatballs) say things like "why didn't they just kick this guy's ass?". Uhh...a kid scraping and clawing for his dream who JUST got to his first professional environment is supposed to beat the shit out of his coach? Are you kidding me?! And you know what...that is basically what the Blackhawks legal defense is saying. "Hey, they were 18. We didn't have to report shit. They should've handled it on their own". It's disgusting even if it's a sound legal argument. It certainly isn't a moral one. 

Then the claim, per Westhead above, that the Blackhawks didn't give Aldrich a recommendation specifically for the high school team, but rather to just "future employers". The Blackhawks knew what this monster did to 18 year-olds who were under their control and not only did they not prevent him from harming others, they allegedly greased the skids for it to happen. This reads like lawyer tricks. 

I asked a lawyer with knowledge of this case if firing Stan Bowman and Al MacIsaac could be used against the Blackhawks in court as essentially an admission of guilt. It was his opinion that it would NOT impact the Blackhawks legally if the organization fired the two men in charge of hockey ops that were in the meeting where Paul Vincent told them exactly what happened. He could be wrong. That is one lawyer's opinion. I am certainly not a lawyer. 

There's the old quote from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn that "the dividing line between good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy their own heart?". We shall see how the investigation goes, the willingness to make that investigation public, and the actions taken by the organization to rectify their own heart. So far it seems very much like they are willing to destroy their own heart. That they're willing to look the other way when they know the very top of the organization buried an assault by an employee against young players after those same people shook the hands of the players and their parents on draft night and told them they were going to develop their son. Just sign on the dotted line. I can't imagine any parent would be thrilled to have their 18 year-old son drafted by the Blackhawks on July 23rd. That's the reputation that they're cultivating with their handling of this case so far. The Blackhawks reputation was that of a first class organization over the last decade. That's tarnished now and you can't get it back if there's a deep disconnect between legality and morality.