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Suspension and disbelief — Curious case of NHLer accused of domestic violence attracts the braying mob

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After the outrage, a stunned silence.

No admission that maybe, sometimes, the instant assumptions are wrong. Or wrong-ish.

A professional athlete, in this case, accused of domestic violence against his girlfriend. A league, the NHL, lambasted for a punishment — reduced from 27-game suspension to 18 by an arbitrator on appeal — perceived as a limp response.

Unlike Major League Baseball, the NHL has no formal domestic violence policy, with every alleged incident decided on a case-by-case basis.

Criticism of the NHL — and there was plenty of it, from a whole lot of folks with a media pulpit — was further fuelled when it was learned that the arbitrator who’d ruled “soft” on Nashville Predator forward Austin Watson had been fired by MLB in 2012, three months after overturning Ryan Braun’s 50-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. Shyam Das had been the league’s longest-tenured arbitrator.

So there was Watson, on the ice at Bridgestone Arena in full uniform last week, for pre-game ceremonies before the team’s home opener against Calgary, although he didn’t play and will not be eligible to play until Nov. 15. His inclusion did not go over well. The suspension adjustment had been jointly announced by the NHL Players’ Association the previous day.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman had called Watson’s behaviour “unacceptable” when he handed down the original suspension a month ago. And the league was clearly unhappy about the trim. “The NHL remains committed to do what we believe is right,” the league said in a statement. “And, in this regard, we intend to continue our steadfast efforts to ensure everyone in our League is adequately educated and sensitized to the importance of this serious social issue. We will not hesitate to adhere to and enforce — through firm discipline as necessary — the standards of professional conduct we feel are appropriate for our League.’’

But there was a sting in the tail of this particular story.

On Saturday, Watson’s girlfriend, Jenn Guardino, released a statement of her own in which she took blame for the incident that had occurred at a Nashville gas station in June. A witness had reported Watson “pushing” Guardino to police. Officers noted the woman had red marks on her chest. Watson acknowledged he’d shoved his girlfriend, was charged, and pleaded no contest to domestic assault on July 24. The legal definition of “no contest” — nolo contendere literally means “I do not wish to contend’’ — is an alternative plea to guilty or innocent whereby the defendant neither disputes or admits to the crime.

“The incident that took place on June 16 … was not an act of domestic violence,” wrote Guardino. “Austin Watson has never and would never hit or abuse me.’’

She was the one who had been intoxicated at the time, Guardino asserted.

“I have struggled with alcoholism for many years,” said Guardino, adding that she is actively involved with Alcoholics Anonymous. “I am fortunate to have Austin’s continued support with my treatment. We handled matters poorly on June 16 and know that we need to make better decisions going forward.

“I take full responsibility for my actions on that day. I would like to sincerely apologize to everyone involved for the negative attention that followed this incident, including the Nashville Predators community and the city of Nashville.”

Many of those most familiar with domestic violence would read an unspoken subtext into Guardino’s statement. Victims often assume blame even when they’re not remotely blameworthy. There are a myriad of reasons for this: shame, pressure, a wish to absolve the perpetrator, an overriding desire to keep the family intact. Fear. Love.

I fundamentally disagree with the stark Believe Survivors credo. There must always be some corroboration and a weighing of credibility, whether in court or a quasi-judicial forum. Every accused is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt. But if you do subscribe to a Believe mantra, then so must Guardino be accepted at her word.

Public education about domestic violence, undeniably a social blight, has been immensely effective. It has taken far too long for partner-upon-partner assault to be recognized as harmful, not just to the individuals involved and children who witness it but to broader society as well.

But crime and punishment are not solely about denunciation. A just system gives equal consideration to rehabilitation and reform. This is especially important in damaged, fractured families where there is a mutual willingness to heal together.

These days the braying mob has little patience for that. Nor is there much tolerance for nuance, interpersonal dynamics, context and where a minor assault falls on the continuum of violence. It is easier — certainly the approved messaging — to come down hard on offenders with one-size-fits-all revulsion. The courts, quite properly, don’t do that, though, which is why Roberto Osuna gets a $500 peace bond and admits nothing but MLB imposes a 75-game suspension and the loss of $2.54 million (U.S.) in salary (and traded by the Blue Jays). For God’s sake, drunk drivers who kill aren’t held to that kind of financial account.

Watson will forfeit $241,000 of his $1.1 million salary. His league resolution also includes 26 weeks of a “batterer intervention” course, despite his girlfriend’s assertion that he’s never physically raised a hand against her.

Professional sports leagues may genuinely believe they are doing the right thing. And, of course, professional sports are not democratic institutions. It’s a privilege to play, not a right. Owners set the rules, with or without collective bargaining accord.

I don’t think sports leagues or individual franchises are competent to make these decisions. Internal investigations, privately adjudged — details of the alleged infraction often never revealed or held up to public prosecutorial scrutiny (unless there’s a parallel criminal investigation) — are an intrinsic contradiction of due process and fairness.

But that doesn’t matter when there’s a righteous cause to champion.

It won’t matter either, what Jenn Guardino has to say. Austin Watson will forevermore be the hockey player who hit his girlfriend, mother of their baby. The virtue of accusation becomes the fact.

Even if he isn’t.

Rosie DiManno is a columnist based in Toronto covering sports and current affairs. Follow her on Twitter: @rdimanno



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These US entities partnered with the Wuhan Institute of Virology — time for a criminal investigation?

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(Natural News) The Wuhan Institute of Virology from which the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) is believed to have “escaped” has a number of questionable partnerships that are worth looking into in light of the pandemic.

Most of them are universities, including the University of Alabama, the University of North Texas, and Harvard University. There is also the EcoHealth Alliance, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Wildlife Federation.

While the relationships between these entities and the Wuhan Institute of Virology may be completely innocent, there is no way to really say for sure without a proper investigation. And this is exactly what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is calling for, as is the nation of Australia.

Pompeo and the folks down under, along with millions of Americans, would really like to know the true origins of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). An increasing number of people simply are not buying the narrative that the novel virus originated in bat soup at a Chinese wet market, and this even includes mainstream media outlets like Fox News.

The only way to really determine what was going on at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and who else might have been involved. is to open the place up for an international investigation. But communist China is against this, of course, accusing Australia of “petty tricks” and collusion with the United States.

“Overnight, I saw comments from the Chinese Foreign Ministry talking about a course of activity with respect to Australia who had the temerity to ask for investigation,” Pompeo is quoted as saying in response to China’s aggression against a proposed investigation.

“Who in the world wouldn’t want an investigation of how this happened to the world?” he added.

As the U.S. aims to get back on track economically speaking, Pompeo believes that now is the time to hold communist China, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and whoever else may have been involved accountable for unleashing this pandemic on the world.

“Not only American wealth, but the global economy’s devastation as a result of this virus,” Pompeo further stated. “There will be a time for this. We will get that timing right.”

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New U.S. analysis finds that lab in Wuhan, China was “most likely” origin of coronavirus release

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(Natural News) While American Leftists and most of the Democrat Party continue to serve as apologists for the Chinese Communist regime over its role in creating and then perpetuating the coronavirus pandemic, a new U.S. government analysis concludes that COVID-19 “most likely” escaped from a lab near Wuhan city.

The Washington Times reports that the analysis cataloged evidence linking the outbreak to the Wuhan lab and has found that other explanations for the origins of the virus are not as credible.

The paper reported:

The document, compiled from open sources and not a finished product, says there is no smoking gun to blame the virus on either the Wuhan Institute of Virology or the Wuhan branch of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, both located in the city where the first outbreaks were reported.

However, “there is circumstantial evidence to suggest such may be the case,” the paper says.

“All other possible places of the virus’ origin have been proven to be highly unlikely,” said the report, a copy of which was obtained by the Times.

ChiCom officials have claimed that the virus’ origin is unknown. However, Beijing initially stated that coronavirus came from animals at a “wet market” in Wuhan where exotic meats are butchered and sold in disgusting conditions.

Chinese officials claim that COVID-19 went from bats to animals sold in the market last year, then infected humans.

U.S. intelligence officials have increasingly dismissed that explanation, however, as attention has begun to focus on evidence suggesting that Chinese medical researchers were working with coronavirus in the country’s only Level 4 facility, which is in Wuhan.

U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said that intelligence agencies are investigating whether the virus escaped from a lab or was the result of a naturally occurring outbreak, but that analysts have ruled out reports that COVID-19 was manmade.

‘The most logical place to investigate the virus origin has been completely sealed off’

“At this point, it’s inconclusive, although the weight of evidence seems to indicate natural,” the general said on April 14, “but we don’t know for certain.”

The analysis said that the wet market explanation does not ring true because the first human diagnosis of coronavirus was made in someone who had no connection to the wet market in question. And according to Chinese reports, no bats were sold at that particular market.

At the same time, several questionable actions and a growing paper trail provide clues that the virus actually escaped from a lab, even as China begins to clamp down on those information streams.

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The biggest media lies about the coronavirus: Origins, treatments and vaccines

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(Natural News) If there is one thing that most everyone can agree on concerning the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it is the fact that there is no shortage of conflicting information out there about the nature of it. And the mainstream media is certainly doing its part to steer the narrative as part of a larger agenda, using plenty of misinformation along the way.

The following are among the most commonly parroted lies about the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that aim to distort the facts and deceive you into believing falsehoods about this pandemic:

Media LIE: The virus is not man-made

From the very beginning of this thing, the official narrative was that the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) came from a Chinese wet market where bats and other “exotic” animals are sold as meat. But the world later learned that it actually more than likely “escaped” from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The mainstream media and social media platforms went nuts trying to censor this information and even called it  “fake news.” But eventually it became undeniable that bat soup was not responsible for spreading the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) around Wuhan and eventually to the rest of the world – hence why we continue to call it the Wuhan coronavirus rather than just COVID-19.

We have even seen attempts by the media machine at making the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) a racial issue because there are supposedly more “people of color” coming down with it than people with fair skin, which further detracts attention away from the source of this virus.

Media LIE: Hydroxychloroquine is extremely dangerous and doesn’t work

The minute that President Donald Trump announced that hydroxychloroquine may be an effective, and very inexpensive, remedy for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), the mainstream media immediately began decrying this claim as fake news, even though Anthony Fauci himself praised hydroxychloroquine back in 2013 under Barack Obama as being some type of “miracle cure” for SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome).

There have even been studies conducted that were designed to intentionally smear the drug as both ineffective and dangerous, though one in particular purposely left out zinc, which appears to be a critical co-factor in supporting the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine – in other words, politics as usual.

Media LIE: Only a vaccine can save us from coronavirus

Many politicians and public health officials are parroting the lie that the only way America can come out of lockdown and go back to “normal” is to get vaccinated with some future vaccine for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that does not even yet exist. A vaccine, we are repeatedly told, is the only thing, or perhaps some new “blockbuster” antiviral drug, that can cure the world of this scourge and make everything happy and wonderful once again.

Meanwhile, not a peep is being made about things like intravenous (IV) high-dose vitamin C, which is being successfully used in other countries to stem the tide of infections without the need for new drugs and vaccines.

By omission, nutrition is pointless

Speaking of natural approaches to overcoming the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that are being systematically ignored by the mainstream media and most in politics, have you heard anyone mention the importance of nutrition in all of this? We did not think so, and this is intentional.

Regular readers of this site over the years should know by now that the single-most important thing you need to do to stay healthy besides exercising regularly is to feed your body the nutrition it needs to naturally ward off illnesses, including those associated with the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).

Research compiled by the Lewin Group reveals that nutritional remedies such as calcium, vitamin D, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zeaxanthin, and more all play a critical role in fortifying the immune system, which, if properly nourished, should have little problem fending off disease.

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