Saturday, May 1, 2021

Jake Virtanen Autographed Card

(team links go to sponsored Amazon products, player links go to related pages on my blog, news links go to source pages)

I wish I were writing a "Jake Virtanen scores a hat trick, cements his position on the Vancouver Canucks' second line for the next decade" type of post but, alas, the 24-year-old (who an important part of the Canucks' fanbase had already turned its back on) is in the news because of an alleged sexual assault that would have taken place in September 2017.

As of yet, there have not been any (formal) accusations although the victim has expressed themselves on Twitter and the police is seemingly aware of "a recently reported incident".

As is common in these cases, there is an important contingent that wants him cancelled, fired, hung by the balls and put on a million type of lists without any sort of trial, and a vocal group disputing the accusations as a cash grab - or worse: a disappointed fan looking to attack the slow-to-develop winger personally for his on-ice play. There are probably a few moderates of the "let's see how this plays out with more facts and perhaps a trial" school left, but I'm not holding my breath anymore.

I'm usually an "extreme moderate" myself in cases like these: I would protect the victim regardless and offer them all the help they need to get their life back on track, whether the accusation is true or not, and whether the attacker gets penalized or not. Yes, even if the accusation isn't true, I would offer the alleged victim state-provided psychological help, because they would need it, to help cure the situation that made them invent the story in the first place, and to deal with the backlash of now having this very public cloud to live with for the rest of their lives.

There is also the possibility that the person does in all truthfullness feel wronged but that a third party rules that they are incorrect in their assessment of the situation, which also deserves care and help; and this being North America, historically, the system being built on proving guilt being harder in situations where there are no witnesses, if the defendant did commit a crime but doesn't crack at the trial, he could get away with it - which also requires a host of services provided to the victim.

In Virtanen's case, however, it is too early to tell on any of this. But I would advise the victim to go through the proper channels of Justice for this one, as the system is thirsty for a public case to right past wrongs, and there has pretty much never been a better time - strategically - to bring someone to court on matters like these and hope for a win (see: Derek Chauvin, the rare police murderer who was found guilty).

For now, the young man has been put on leave by his hometown team. He was already thought by many to being on his way out of town, and this may very well seal the deal, but it also brings the team's expected return down by a lot; I'm not sure even a talented (alleged) racist like Tony DeAngelo is a fair return today.

Back in the day, Virtanen used to suit up for Team Canada often; here he is wearing the team's red (away) uniform on card #44 from Upper Deck's 2014-15 Team Canada Juniors/Women set:
It shows him wearing #19. He signed it in thin blue sharpie. I got the card by mail a couple of seasons ago.

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