Ryerson’s Ivan Joseph reacts to OHL suspensions

Jake Marchment

Belleville Bulls forward Jake Marchment was suspended 15 games by the OHL for comments made on Tinder. (Courtesy Belleville Bulls official website)

The Ontario Hockey League (OHL) announced last week it has suspended Peterborough Petes forward Greg Betzold, and Belleville Bulls forward Jake Marchment 15 games each for making offensive comments on Tinder.

Both players engaged in a “social networking activity” that goes against league policies, including “Respect in Sport Harassment and Abuse.”

Betzold and Marchment made unacceptable comments to women on social media that were degrading and offensive.

The players have each since apologized for their words, but the OHL commissioner David Branch said that is not enough and anything less than a 15-game suspension would have been insulting.

“The OHL takes issues related to respect, diversity and harassment very seriously,” said Branch.

Ivan Joseph, Ryerson’s director of athletics, agrees that insulting comments to other people on social media is disrespectful and that the action taken was appropriate.

“Sometimes students don’t realize that their social media identity represents the school and the team too, not just themselves. They have to take that into consideration in all of their posts,” said Joseph.

This event and the penalty that was given may scare athletes into being extra cautious when posting on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tinder.

Joseph explained how Ryerson would handle a situation like this if a Ryerson athlete were to ever post something offensive.

“I can’t say the amount of games we would suspend a player. I’d have to look at the situation independently. But I can say that we would certainly take appropriate actions here at Ryerson,” said Joseph.

He also said he hopes that this is an issue Ryerson will never have to deal with. He says the university has a social media policy that athletes have been made well aware of.

“Our athletics department and coaches here at Ryerson have always done a great job of reinforcing this point. So, I hope for our players hearing about this, that it’s not an eye-opening event for them,” said Joseph.

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