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2012 Playoffs, Commentary, Critical Media Analysis

‘Lazy KHL Bums’: Xenophobia in Hockey

During Sunday’s Nashville Predators vs. Phoenix Coyotes game on the NBC Sports Network, Keith Jones and Jeremy Roenick gave a scathing critique of the play of Nashville Forward Alexander Radulov.

They were lauded in some circles, but many people, myself included, were disturbed by the xenophobic nature of some of their comments. There is a long and ugly history of anti-Russian xenophobia in hockey complete with stereotypes about Russian players as lazy, selfish, greedy, streaky and, of course, ‘enigmatic’. A Puck Daddy post on the NBCSN rant garnered numerous xenophobic responses from readers. I’ve gathered some of the worst comments below.

I’ve also included comments and tweets that recognized the xenophobic assumptions and statements by some in the media and hockey fandom and called people out for them.

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge.)


About Karen M

Recovering academic/pop culture junkie/crazed hockey fan.


7 thoughts on “‘Lazy KHL Bums’: Xenophobia in Hockey

  1. I’ve always found it interesting how these memes seem to perpetuate despite the fact that the facts say otherwise. Looking particularly at Ovechkin, for example, the guy has the most points on his team in the first round and tied for the most points in the series, and somehow he’s not playing up to his potential. Being the best isn’t playing up to his potential? Same thing with Semin. He’s played some great hockey.

    Posted by pthread1981 | April 30, 2012, 6:15 pm
    • The ‘lazy’ stigma is tough for any player to shake off once it becomes ‘conventional wisdom’ (I’ve seen that with Pat Kane for example) but with Russians it seems impossible. In the last few weeks of the regular season & in round 1 I though Semin was one of the best players for the Caps, but he takes a few bad penalties in the last game and suddenly he’s the worst again. Kovy is having a terrible time in the playoffs leading most reasonable people to speculate that he’s injured but for all the assholes it’s obviously because he’s a lazy Russian and they never do anything in the playoffs. I think part of the reason Ovechkin is getting such a bad rap is because nobody knows what exactly Hunter is doing with him so people seem to be under the impression that he must be sucking if he’s not getting ice time.

      Honestly though, with this kind of crap from the media and the fans and the ability to make lots of tax free money, is it any wonder the KHL is an attractive option for Russian born players?

      Posted by Karen M | April 30, 2012, 6:40 pm
  2. Let’s get married Karen.

    Seriously though, my thing on this latest chapter of ‘The NHL Really Hates Them Crazy Russians’ book (tm~! one day!) is that what Jones was saying about Alex is on-point here. He’s been one of the worst guys on team these past two games and so those things he’s saying are true but then you throw in JR’s random jokes and commentators like this and it’s just depressingly mind-boggling that we can’t even talk about a hockey player without having to check for the anti-Russia rhetoric that happens with any team with a Russian (or if this is Montreal — a Belarussian).

    As a -sky/-ski american, this is kind of redic, yo.

    Posted by batmaneatsbabie | April 30, 2012, 6:42 pm


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