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Tootoo Enters Substance Abuse Program

      NEW YORK/TORONTO (December 27, 2010)—The National Hockey League Players’ Association and the National Hockey League announced today that forward Jordin Tootoo of the Nashville Predators has voluntarily entered in-patient care as part of the Joint NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH).

      Tootoo’s care will be administered by SABH Program Doctors Dave Lewis (NHL) and Brian Shaw (NHLPA). Tootoo will continue to receive his full salary and benefits and will have no penalty imposed, provided he complies with his prescribed treatment and follow-up care program.

      There will be no further comment.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jordin+tootoo

Comments

pensfan29's avatar

Wow. Wonder what he was doing

Posted by pensfan29 on 12/27/10 at 07:51 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Tootoo will continue to receive his full salary and benefits and will have no penalty imposed, provided he complies with his prescribed treatment and follow-up care program.

So, in other words, there is no penalty for being a “sustance-abusing” douchebag. That sure sends a wondeful message to all of the young hockey players out there who might be tempted to abuse one substance or another: “Hey, go ahead. If you get caught, we’ll pay for your treatment and we’ll pay you your full salary.”

This just confirms that we’re living in the “Age of No Consequences.” And, apparently, the NHL is marching in lock-step with everyone else. Pathetic. Just pathetic.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 12/27/10 at 09:38 PM ET

Baroque's avatar

Wow. Wonder what he was doing

Posted by pensfan29 on 12/27/10 at 05:51 PM ET

Most likely guess - run of the mill alcohol. Common among many people, and with the environment in his home town it might be even more of an issue. Alcoholism is rampant among native American communities in the US, and I suspect Canadian peoples have the same problems.

Hopefully he will be okay. It’s a tough demon to beat because the problem is everywhere.

Posted by Baroque from Michigan on 12/27/10 at 10:30 PM ET

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OTC, I’m pretty sure the “no-penalty” thing is because he “turned himself in”, rather than having the news come out as the result of an investigation or otherwise being “caught”.  I see your point, but I don’t think this is necessarily a free pass for him.

I’m not comparing drugs to a traffic citation, but using the traffic example, you can go to court and admit guilt and receive a lesser penalty than if you force to court to try your case and find you guilty.  I do see parallels there.  I don’t think they’re saying that it’s okay to abuse drugs, but they (arguably) are doing the right thing by making it easier for someone caught up in that stuff to break the cycle.

It’d be best if everyone could be clean in the first place, but we live in an imperfect world.  With no incentive to come clean (and go clean and stay clean), someone in that situation might come to the conclusion that keeping quiet about it and continuing to do it would be a reasonable decision, since if they get caught they’ll face the same punishment as if they do the “right thing” by asking for help to stop.

Again, I’m not defending Tootoo’s actions, merely suggesting that his voluntary admission ought to be worth something in your eyes.  Perhaps not worth a full “pardon”, but at least worth something.

Posted by GregAnnapolis on 12/27/10 at 10:38 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

...I’m pretty sure the “no-penalty” thing is because he “turned himself in”, rather than having the news come out as the result of an investigation or otherwise being “caught”.  I see your point, but I don’t think this is necessarily a free pass for him.

Well, Greg, I’m sure that’s the point that his attorney made to the league. My point is that he’s getting an “all expenses paid” trip to rehab. If the league wants to pay for the cost of rehab, that’s great. But to give him his full salary while he does that sends the wrong message to young players.

At some point, people have to pay some sort of price (like a loss of salary) if they choose to be an abuser. But, hey, in the NBA, players can abuse people as well as drugs and they end up getting raises (cough,Kobie,cough).

Still, I’m disappointed that the NHL chose to give a guy who’s made a career out of being a doucebag his full salary while he sits in a cushy room getting sober. Considering that all Avery did was use bad language in order to lose all of his pay, something’s not right here.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 12/28/10 at 02:10 AM ET

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OTC, fair points, all of them.  There certainly is a disparity between the outcome to this and Avery’s situations, and that’s not right.  However, I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to count Tootoo’s perceived douchebagginess (if that’s not a word, it ought to be!) against him.  There are dislike-able people in the world, but I believe that those sorts of personal feelings should be set aside (as best as possible) when contemplating what someone does or doesn’t deserve.  Other than that I think I pretty much agree with you; I guess I can justify the league paying for the rehab but the more I think about it, the harder it becomes to justify the full pay while he’s out of commission.  Do hockey players accrue vacation/sick time? wink

Posted by GregAnnapolis on 12/28/10 at 02:37 AM ET

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OTC,
It’s fortunate for you that you obviously know nothing about addiction.  People no more ‘choose to be an abuser’ than they choose to be depressed, or have mental illness.  Although judging from your attitude you probably find those things to be character flaws as well.
And I’m not a fan of Tootoo.

Posted by dwgs on 12/28/10 at 10:56 AM ET

Sadie's avatar

But to give him his full salary while he does that sends the wrong message to young players.

I think it sends the message that the NHL really wants players to be clean.  There are already plenty of personal and professional consequences to entering rehab; why would you further disincentivize getting help by taking the player’s salary as well? 

As the above commenter pointed out, people don’t choose to be addicts.  Young players aren’t going to drink or not drink based on the NHL’s policy on rehab because no one starts drinking thinking that they’ll end up an alcoholic.

Posted by Sadie from Ann Arbor, MI on 12/28/10 at 12:01 PM ET

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OTC, I think the logic stems from the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Posted by VandyBuck on 12/28/10 at 01:26 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

People no more ‘choose to be an abuser’ than they choose to be depressed, or have mental illness.

Well, that’s certainly the politically correct point of view. But if people had no choice, no one would ever recover. People do choose to drink too much or to take drugs. Having done that, part of a person’s recovery is to accept responsibility for what they’ve done. There is a price to be paid.

As I said, I’m disappointed that the NHL is allowing this guy to get his full salary while he tries to undo the damage he’s done to his own life and to the lives of others. Let the NHLPA pay for his treatment, but don’t pay the guy to get well.

The minimum wage for a hockey player is about a half a million dollars a year, and Tootoo’s making over a million. I doubt that he, or any other player in his situation, will suffer any real financial hardship if he isn’t paid during treatment. In fact, that should be part of the responsibility the person takes for getting better.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 12/28/10 at 02:06 PM ET

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Considering that all Avery did was use bad language in order to lose all of his pay, something’s not right here.

Avery didn’t lose ALL his pay. He lost his pay for six games. The rest of the 2+ months he was undergoing treatment, he was still receiving full pay/benefits.

Posted by Susan on 12/28/10 at 02:55 PM ET

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Some people recover from cancer.  Did they choose that disease?
And I’m not from the politically correct camp, I just had the misfortune to grow up with an alcoholic parent so I educated myself.
BTW, kind of ironic photo there for the guy preaching moral absolutism.

Posted by dwgs on 12/28/10 at 03:40 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Avery didn’t lose ALL his pay. He lost his pay for six games. The rest of the 2+ months he was undergoing treatment, he was still receiving full pay/benefits.

Thanks, Susan. I didn’t know that. That being the case, I’d object to him getting paid the full salary during his treatment as well.

Some people recover from cancer.  Did they choose that disease?

Actually, some people do – or at least they knowingly put themselves at risk for the disease. Tootoo’s situation is the same as a person who smoked two packs a day for his whole life. That person chose a high-risk behavior, just like Tootoo did when he began abusing whatever it was that he abused.

At any point, he had the option to not abuse that substance, just as he’s doing now. He made bad choices and he should pay a price for that. IMO, getting paid his full salary to stop his bad behavior sends the wrong message.

BTW, kind of ironic photo there for the guy preaching moral absolutism.

That avatar, like many here at KK, is meant to be exactly what you’ve described it as being – ironic. I don’t smoke. I very rarely drink any hard liquor. And, in case you’re wondering, I’m not a beagle. smile

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 12/28/10 at 03:54 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

There are far too many unqualified experts diagnosing this guy.

I like that the NHL’s position would encourage others to get help if they need it. Alcoholism isn’t a big fun-time party, it can be a debilitating disease. The whole point of the term “addiction” means it’s no longer a choice.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 12/28/10 at 06:00 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

The whole point of the term “addiction” means it’s no longer a choice.

Sorry, red, but I just don’t accept that. If that really was true, and a person had no choice but to continue abusing a substance, then there would be no need for treatment.

According to my dictionary, the word “addicted” means: physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance, and unable to stop taking it without incurring adverse effects. Addicts keep abusing a given substance not because they have no choice, but because they don’t want to deal with the “adverse effects” of stopping.

I like that the NHL’s position would encourage others to get help if they need it.

So let the team or the NHLPA pay for the treatment program. But I think paying a guy his full salary when he’s the one who got himself in the situation in the first place sends the wrong message – to the player and to young players and fans.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 12/28/10 at 06:23 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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