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So then there’s the ripping Datsyuk phenomenon.

This really upsets me. As noted early this morning, Pavel Datsyuk was asked about Russia's anti-homosexuality laws--and the comments of Russian pole-vaulter Yelena Isinbaeva--in front of a packed crowd in Moscow, while accepting the Kharlamov Trophy from Sovetsky Sport, and he replied, "I'm [Eastern] Orthodox; I think that says it all" (and the Eastern Orthodox religion as about as accepting of the LGBT community as other religions are).

I knew that Datsyuk would get flak for his remarks, but honestly speaking, while engaging in a two-hour Q and A session with almost fifty fans and a dozen media members, leaning upon his religious beliefs is as close to a "no comment" as he could've got.

Especially given the fact that he and his Russian Olympic orientation camp teammates are meeting Vladimir Putin on Friday, he was in a situation where a "no comment" would have damned him to hockey hell and would've absolutely infuriated those watching him in what was an incredibly detailed and personal setting.

So yes, he's deservedly getting ripped in the media, but what Datsyuk says in front of what was all but literally a firing squad and what he says on this side of the Atlantic are two different things. He was absolutely *#$%@& over had he said anything other than, "I agree completely," and instead, he went with, "I'm gonna lean on the religion card."

I don't agree with his comments, obviously, but whether Datsyuk agrees with them is also a good question to ask when he's not in an incredibly charged situation. At this point, context is everything, and in a situation where Datsyuk could've literally lost an Olympic spot had he not nodded his head, he nodded his head.

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I’ve said a lot here, most of which you haven’t formulated a response to.  So, if that’s the best you’ve got for me, I’m going to sleep easy tonight.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 08/22/13 at 03:59 PM ET

I’m pointing out the fact that you don’t know what the word actually means, but obviously that was too hard for you grasp.

Posted by George0211 on 08/22/13 at 03:02 PM ET

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if you read past the jokes and the quips you would know he is a straight shooter

I think maybe you don’t know what it means to be a straight shooter.

Posted by Garth on 08/22/13 at 03:03 PM ET

Chris in A^2's avatar

This honestly has very little to do with religion, people.  And that everyone is making it into one means you’re absolutely falling for Putin’s trick.
-Primis

Yeah, but this is the internet. Religion came up, so
we were bound to get destracted by people making silly unsupportable statements about entire belief systems, followed by petty fighting over people trying to justify those broad statements.  Maybe you have a point about Putin distracting the masses.

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 08/22/13 at 03:04 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

I’m pointing out the fact that you don’t know what the word actually means, but obviously that was too hard for you grasp.

Posted by George0211 on 08/22/13 at 04:02 PM ET

So, through one discussion on a hockey blog, you’ve learned the contents of my mind?  What a talent.  Have you quit your day job yet?

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 08/22/13 at 03:07 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Did Datsyuk punch a homossexual? Did he say they should be jailed or something? No.

No one is forced to like homossexuality, people. Keep in mind that this hateful, bigot country of Russia is where he came from.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 08/22/13 at 03:09 PM ET

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So, through one discussion on a hockey blog, you’ve learned the contents of my mind?  What a talent.  Have you quit your day job yet?

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 08/22/13 at 04:07 PM ET

LOL. WOW. Talk about reaching.
Yes, based on the fact that you’re calling a person whom you do not know personally a bigot, based strictly on a single vague comment made by said person, you make it perfectly clear that you do not know what the word actually means.
And guess what, I figured all this out without reading your mind. How cool is that?

Posted by George0211 on 08/22/13 at 03:11 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

This honestly has very little to do with religion, people.  And that everyone is making it into one means you’re absolutely falling for Putin’s trick.

How can you say that? His answer was base upon religion, and I have no reasons to doubt that.

It doesn’t matter if that’s his religion because the government encourages everyone to believe that. Whatever the reason for him to be Orthodox, at the end of the day he’s just an orthodox.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 08/22/13 at 03:12 PM ET

awould's avatar

Speaking against a church, or any group, that openly espouses bigoted beliefs, that actively encourages it in many cases, and has throughout history is not bigotry. The two are not the same. There is no inalienable “right” to put your foot on another man’s neck.

It’s not impinging on another’s rights to deny them the ability to harm others.

The law in Russia is despicable. Primis nailed it on the head too, it has nothing to do w/ religion and everything to do with power and control. The law and its controversy gives Putin a minority that people can focus their hate on, and an excuse to jail people for frivolous reasons.

As for Datsyuk’s comments, you can take them completely at face value and assume he is anti-homosexual or you can give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he may have been equivocating a lot in a very tough situation. One thing is statement absolutely didn’t do was to agree w/ the law, which he could have done and would have been the “safest” thing to do given where he was and who he was surrounded by. You can be openly anti-gay but still respect their rights to exist, which this law doesn’t do. So maybe Datsyuk is anti-gay and he also thinks the law is BS. Or maybe not.

Only he knows for sure and, frankly, I’m not going to judge him based on a third-party interpretation of what he might have meant. Nor am I going to hold him to the high standards of all the armchair, laptop wielding commandos on the internet who probably totally would’ve spit in Putin’s face if they were him.

Posted by awould on 08/22/13 at 03:17 PM ET

Hank1974's avatar

I find it amazing that a group that is fighting tooth and nail for basic rights and freedoms, decries anyone for exercising their own.
Whether you agree with Datsyuk’s statement or not, he has a right to express his beliefs.

What I’ve discovered over the years is that the hard-core Christian Right is no different than the hardcore Leftist Gay Activist.
Substitute the words “Jesus” and “Gay Rights” and they sound precisely the same.

One activist, on the Ron and Fez show, said that all religious, anti-gay people should be shot, or forced to think the way she does.
Sound familiar?

Like Forlorn in VA stated, there are plenty of Christians who don’t consider gay people to be sinners and want them to enjoy all basic rights and freedoms.

My beliefs, as a Christian, are that if you’re a good person, and try to be good to everyone in your life (including yourself), then you’re going to Heaven.
This includes Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindu’s, athiests,.. everyone.

Posted by Hank1974 on 08/22/13 at 03:19 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

LOL. WOW. Talk about reaching.
Yes, based on the fact that you’re calling a person whom you do not know personally a bigot, based strictly on a single vague comment made by said person, you make it perfectly clear that you do not know what the word actually means.
And guess what, I figured all this out without reading your mind. How cool is that?

Posted by George0211 on 08/22/13 at 04:11 PM ET

Who did I call a bigot?  I want you to show me where I said that.  And before you try, don’t feed me a cheap line about how someone’s religious feelings amount to an excuse for anti-gay sentiment.  If you do, you’d better be ready to defend those who used religion to justify slavery, because the logic in defense of both positions is identical.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 08/22/13 at 03:20 PM ET

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Only he knows for sure and, frankly, I’m not going to judge him based on a third-party interpretation of what he might have meant. Nor am I going to hold him to the high standards of all the armchair, laptop wielding commandos on the internet who probably totally would’ve spit in Putin’s face if they were him.

Posted by awould on 08/22/13 at 04:17 PM ET

Thank you

Posted by George0211 on 08/22/13 at 03:20 PM ET

Da lil Guy's avatar

He’s saying he supports putting people in jail for publicly supporting gay equality.

If that doesn’t meet the strict definition of ‘bigot’ as you define it, then I digress and will find some other word for it.

Maybe that word is ‘homophobe’. Maybe it’s ‘intolerant’...

Whatever it is, I don’t think it reflects well on him.

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 08/22/13 at 03:22 PM ET

awould's avatar

What I’ve discovered over the years is that the hard-core Christian Right is no different than the hardcore Leftist Gay Activist.

I don’t think comparing the extremes of any group is particularly helpful. What I can say about the general religious community and the general LGBT community is that one group actively works to deny rights to others, while the other group works to obtain the same rights as the majority. I don’t think there is a moral equivalency when the religious group acts like victims because their so-called right to deny rights is denied.

Posted by awould on 08/22/13 at 03:24 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Posted by Da lil Guy from Ottawa on 08/22/13 at 04:22 PM ET

Dude, I read one sentence. “I am Orthodox”. Where did you get the rest?

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 08/22/13 at 03:26 PM ET

Hawk's avatar

It’s so sad seeing how easily the LGBT issues can divide the group of people who are usually spiritually united by rooting for one of the best franchises in world’s sport’s history.

The so called “Russian anti-gay law” is, in fact, a law that prohibits any propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors.
I, as a Russian, as a country-mate of Datsyuk, as a father of two minors, am proud of what Pavel said.
And why it makes people get disappointed?

Posted by Hawk from Moscow, Russia on 08/22/13 at 03:28 PM ET

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Who did I call a bigot?  I want you to show me where I said that.  And before you try, don’t feed me a cheap line about how someone’s religious feelings amount to an excuse for anti-gay sentiment.  If you do, you’d better be ready to defend those who used religion to justify slavery, because the logic in defense of both positions is identical.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 08/22/13 at 04:20 PM ET

How can you even make that parallel? Slavery was inherently evil.
I never advocated anti-gay sentiment, I am simply stating that people shouldn’t be jumping all over Datsyuk because he said he is religious and for that he is being called a bigot.
He never advocated anything anti-gay, he never spoke out against gay people, never done anything to physically hurt another person based on their sexuality.
So how is he a bigot?
When a religion says that you should hurt other people because of the said religion, that’s one thing, but this is not the case here, right now in today’s world.

Posted by George0211 on 08/22/13 at 03:28 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

How can you even make that parallel? Slavery was inherently evil.
I never advocated anti-gay sentiment, I am simply stating that people shouldn’t be jumping all over Datsyuk because he said he is religious and for that he is being called a bigot.
He never advocated anything anti-gay, he never spoke out against gay people, never done anything to physically hurt another person based on their sexuality.
So how is he a bigot?
When a religion says that you should hurt other people because of the said religion, that’s one thing, but this is not the case here, right now in today’s world.

Posted by George0211 on 08/22/13 at 04:28 PM ET

Again, who did I call a bigot?  Also, I wasn’t attempting to say that slavery and anti-gay sentiment are equal in magnitude.  I was saying that the religious based defense of either consists of the same logic.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 08/22/13 at 03:34 PM ET

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Posted by Hawk from Moscow, Russia on 08/22/13 at 04:28 PM ET

Wow.

Posted by Garth on 08/22/13 at 03:36 PM ET

Chris in A^2's avatar

How can you say that? His answer was base upon religion, and I have no reasons to doubt that.
-Herm

That’s Primis’s point.  The religious fighting hides that fact that the Russian state now has the authority to jail people for acts of protest or freedom of speech.  Datsyuk made a diplomatic response that didnt directly answer the question and is open to interpretation.  That generated pages of outrage on the internet- Malik was thr only one focusing on the context of the question or even discussing the legislation.

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 08/22/13 at 03:37 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

It’s so sad seeing how easily the LGBT issues can divide the group of people who are usually spiritually united by rooting for one of the best franchises in world’s sport’s history.

The beauty of this place is people can disagree on one thread, and “leave it all on the ice” so to speak.  Go to the next thread, and you wouldn’t know there was a disagreement.

The so called “Russian anti-gay law” is, in fact, a law that prohibits any propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors.

Talk about splitting hairs.

I, as a Russian, as a country-mate of Datsyuk, as a father of two minors, am proud of what Pavel said.
And why it makes people get disappointed?

Posted by Hawk from Moscow, Russia on 08/22/13 at 04:28 PM ET

I’m not even touching that one my friend.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 08/22/13 at 03:38 PM ET

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Slavery was inherently evil.

Any denying someone’s rights because of who he or she is attracted to is what?  Good?

Posted by Garth on 08/22/13 at 03:38 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

Any denying someone’s rights because of who he or she is attracted to is what?  Good?

Posted by Garth on 08/22/13 at 04:38 PM ET

It took a long time to get here, but it’s nice to agree with you on something Garth!

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 08/22/13 at 03:39 PM ET

Forlorn in VA's avatar

Potentially putting yourself at risk to publicly disagree with Russian politics is one thing.  Potentially putting your minor child at risk is another thing all together.  I consider myself an ally to the LGBT community, and I prefer to give Datsyuk the benefit of the doubt.

Posted by Forlorn in VA on 08/22/13 at 03:42 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 08/22/13 at 04:37 PM ET

What I meant is, Datsyuk gave a religious-based answer. What I got from Primis is that Putin wants it to sound like a religious answer, but it’s really political, because he endorses a religion that endorses his will of locking people up.

Why I don’t have any doubt that’s Putin’s intention, still Datsyuk only talked about religion, so there’s no point in dragging politics into it.

What’s the difference if Datsyuk became an Orthodox because the government enforces, his mother enforced it, or he read about it on a waiting. It’s his belief, screw the source of it.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 08/22/13 at 03:44 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 08/22/13 at 04:37 PM ET

I have to say again, does anyone really think the Russian state is going to put the irons on a guy of Datsyuk’s profile over stating his disagreement?  During the first winter games in Russia since the fall of the USSR?  The guy who is frankly their best chance a medalling in a sport they used to dominate?  I don’t think even Putin has balls that big.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 08/22/13 at 03:44 PM ET

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Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 08/22/13 at 04:39 PM ET

Don’t worry, I’m sure it won’t last long.

Posted by Garth on 08/22/13 at 03:48 PM ET

Forlorn in VA's avatar

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 08/22/13 at 04:44 PM ET

I wouldn’t be so sure of that.  He could do much to harm him directly and indirectly.  He could be denied a spot on the national team, he could be the victim of a “criminal” or terrorist attack orchestrated by the Russian government, or more likely, his minor child and ex wife who live year round in Russia could be targeted for an “accident”.

Posted by Forlorn in VA on 08/22/13 at 03:48 PM ET

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Posted by Forlorn in VA on 08/22/13 at 04:48 PM ET

Of worse.  If he spoke out about it he could be treated as if he were gay.

Posted by Garth on 08/22/13 at 03:53 PM ET

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it’s interesting that people on both sides are putting words in pavs mouth to both defend him, saying that he wouldn’t say that North America and he really doesn’t believe that, and to criticize him, saying that he’s a bigot and homophobe. I agree with herm. there’s no reason to doubt his religious convictions. that is not something I can never remember him joking about

Posted by jkm2011 on 08/22/13 at 03:55 PM ET

Forlorn in VA's avatar

Posted by Garth on 08/22/13 at 04:53 PM ET

I agree that he could be treated as if he were gay, but I was trying to show that he could be punished indirectly also, in ways that would, on the surface, eliminate the appearance of involvement by the government.  I’m not sure Datsyuk being treated as if he were gay would be worse than my hypothetical scenario of the death of his daughter - but I understand what you are saying.

Posted by Forlorn in VA on 08/22/13 at 04:02 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Onoes, I was raised Catholic by parents who believed in birth control! Clearly, they were religious misfits for not believing each and every tenet of the Catholic Church as issued by the Pope! Clearly, Datsyuk can’t harbor any beliefs of his own!

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 08/22/13 at 04:13 PM ET

Da lil Guy's avatar

In response to a question specifically about the law, he aligned himself with a group that has advocated publicly in favor of the law and offered it’s political support for it. Then he summed it up with ‘I think that says it all’. Not sure how anyone could argue he’s not taking a position, but if that’s what you believe then we can just agree to disagree - but I think you need to acknowledge the context.

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 08/22/13 at 04:17 PM ET

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Posted by Da lil Guy from Ottawa on 08/22/13 at 05:17 PM ET

This.  Exactly this.

He could’ve said no comment.  He could’ve tried to dodge the question, but he didn’t.  He answered by implying that his religious beliefs inform his opinions, and even the most cursory of google searches can tell you what the beliefs of the eastern orthodox church are.

Posted by Garth on 08/22/13 at 04:32 PM ET

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Fighting for LGBT rights, while condemning religion in the same breath, oh liberals how you contradict yourselves so much!

For the record I’m for LGBT rights, and am not at all religious in the slightest.

Posted by realmk on 08/22/13 at 04:47 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

Fighting for LGBT rights, while condemning religion in the same breath, oh liberals how you contradict yourselves so much!

For the record I’m for LGBT rights, and am not at all religious in the slightest.

Posted by realmk on 08/22/13 at 05:47 PM ET

Contradictory like… supporting LGBT and voting conservative.  Right?

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 08/22/13 at 04:55 PM ET

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It’s called priorities, having a balanced budget which apparently is at the bottom of BO’s list of things to do and paying off some of the massive debt the US is in ranks a bit higher on the scale of importance than social issues. That’s really the main difference between the two parties now. Liberals put social issues at the forefront 9 out of 10 times, While conservatives care more about us not spending ourselves into becoming a 3rd world shithole.  I’d just like this democrat controlled senate to maybe vote on one of the budget proposals sitting on Harry Reid’s desk.  Oh wait easier to blame congress instead. I forgot.

Posted by realmk on 08/22/13 at 05:03 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

It’s called priorities, having a balanced budget which apparently is at the bottom of BO’s list of things to do and paying off some of the massive debt the US is in ranks a bit higher on the scale of importance than social issues. That’s really the main difference between the two parties now. Liberals put social issues at the forefront 9 out of 10 times, While conservatives care more about us not spending ourselves into becoming a 3rd world shithole.  I’d just like this democrat controlled senate to maybe vote on one of the budget proposals sitting on Harry Reid’s desk.  Oh wait easier to blame congress instead. I forgot.

Posted by realmk on 08/22/13 at 06:03 PM ET

It’s also called an excuse.  Good to know your tax bill is more important to you than the civil liberties of others.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 08/22/13 at 05:06 PM ET

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oh ffs reading comprehension isn’t a strong point for you is it?, It has zero to do with taxes, nor did I imply anything to do with taxes. Done debating with a guy who can’t do much aside from throw out strawmen on a regular basis.

Posted by realmk on 08/22/13 at 05:08 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

Posted by realmk on 08/22/13 at 06:08 PM ET

You ranked fiscal policy ahead of the civil liberties of your fellow citizens on your list of priorities.  If your going to excuse yourself over semantics thats on you.  I hope it feels as cheap as it looks

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 08/22/13 at 05:11 PM ET

Primis's avatar

How can you say that? His answer was base upon religion, and I have no reasons to doubt that.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 08/22/13 at 04:12 PM ET

No Herm.  It’s not necessarily.

His answer may very well have been based on “OMG I don’t want my family to die/be sent to a prison camp”, or on “Please don’t have a Russian hire come to America and kill me while I’m traveling on the East Coast”... and have zero to actually do with religion.

And that’s the whole point.  Religion is merely Putin’s scapegoat in this case, the way to deflect the blame from himself.

Posted by Primis on 08/22/13 at 05:13 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.