Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Puttin' on the common sense

My mother would be proud of USA Hockey today. This is because it finally disproved one of her pet sayings, which she used to employ frequently where her sometimes dopey son was concerned.

"I swear you don't have the sense God gave a goose!" she used to say.

Well, USA Hockey just proved it does, in fact, have the sense God gave a goose.

This is because the organization finally struck a deal with the U.S. women's hockey team it should have struck a long time ago, because it was simply and obviously the right thing to do. The defending world champions, and perennial top-two-in-the-world team, finally got treated the way a team of its stature should get treated.

Which is, as equals to the men.

Key to the new deal was not just a hike in pay, after all, but the explicit acknowledgement that the women's value, even as world champs, was not inherently less than that of the men. For the first time, USA Hockey will pay women's team performance bonuses. And for the first time, the women will get the same level of travel arrangements and insurance coverage as the men -- and their per diem will be bumped from $15 to $50, same as the men.

Think about that for a second: The women, despite being the best in the world, were being paid $35 less in per diem than the men.

That it took USA Hockey this long to figure out that wasn't right -- that it took a looming boycott by the women's team of the world championships to bring it around -- tempted one to put the entire leadership under a concussion protocol, on the theory that something had scrambled their wits. But after months of apparently puttin' on the foil, ala the Hanson Brothers, they finally put on the common sense.

Congratulations, gentlemen. And forgive us if we add, "What took you so long?"

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