Gary Glitter, real name Paul Gadd, leaves a London court in November of 2014 after being charged with sex crimes. (Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images)
Former rock star Gary Glitter was convicted this week of a slew of sex charges in Britain this week, but some NHL teams continue using his song, "Rock and Roll, Part 2" in their goal celebrations. This is unacceptable and needs to end. Today.
Notorious British musician Gary Glitter was found guilty Thursday in London of multiple sex crimes with minors, and if you're wondering how this awful man has a connection to hockey, rest assured, you're not the only one. Here's why: Glitter's hit song, "Rock and Roll, Part 2", continues to be played at NHL arenas. It's astonishing that teams feel justified in using it despite Glitter's numerous sex crime convictions prior to this latest one – and the use of his music needs to end. Today.
The 70-year-old Glitter was convicted of one count of attempted rape, one count of sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 13, and four counts of indecent assault. The charges all are in relation to crimes he committed against three girls in the 1970s; he'll be sentenced February 27th and could receive the maximum sentence for unlawful sex with a minor of life in prison. And the former "glam rock" star, whose heyday came in the 1970s, has been found guilty of sex offenses with minors in courts around the world: in 1999, he was convicted of possessing child pornography (an offense for which he served a four-month prison sentence); in 2003, he was deported from Cambodia to Vietnam after sexual abuse allegations; and in 2006, he was sentenced to three years in a Vietnamese prison for sexually abusing two girls.
And yet, even with that information in the public domain, NHL teams have continued to play "Rock and Roll, Part 2". The Colorado Avalanche still use the original version as their goal song. The Florida Panthers and Nashville Predators used it in their goal song celebrations last season. The San Jose Sharks use a muzak version for their goal song.
This is all so unnecessarily stubborn and, quite simply, unacceptable.
Try and put yourself into the shoes of a sexual assault survivor – or someone whose life has been affected by sexual abuse – who is in attendance at an NHL game. Let's say, for argument's sake, you're also an Avs fan and you're in Denver at the Pepsi Center. Colorado scores, and at the moment you should be cheering as loudly as you can and revelling in your team scoring a goal, you're instead confronted by the work of a man whom you know has committed these heinous acts. Do you really feel like cheering anymore? Or has somebody's insistence on playing this song transported you back to moments in your life when you were in great pain?
The answer is clear. When you should be thinking about sports, you're forced to think about a human predator, and the agony they've caused. That's not what people are paying for when they buy tickets to a game.
Some will say that there should be no connection made between someone's art and the person behind it, but this isn't realistic. We're seeing now that, with disgraced celebrities such as Bill Cosby and Jian Ghomeshi, the perception of any individual's work can be altered forever by new information that's come to the public's attention.
Tell me, Avalanche and Sharks game operations people – would you play a Cosby routine during the intermission right now? Of course you wouldn't. The legendary comedian's actions have made him a pariah, and no professional sports team would have anything to do with him.
That's what should've happened to Glitter and "Rock and Roll, Part 2" in NHL circles, but that hasn't happened – at least, not when it comes to all teams. That said, the Panthers now use a different goal song this season. And to the Predators' credit, they realized the error of their ways and announced last summer they would no longer play Glitter's music.
"We try to take as much input from our fans as we can get," Predators president and chief operating officer Sean Henry told RinksideReport.com. “But even if we had zero input from our fans, a lot of people have a tough time just stepping up and saying, ‘This is wrong.’ Being associated with someone like that was just wrong."
It is wrong, but apparently, not wrong enough for the Avalanche and Sharks. They still believe they can associate their team and their brand with a monster. If they don't want to stop using Glitter's music, the NHL must step in and ban it for them. There are all sorts of exciting songs the teams could choose that wouldn't upset people the way this one does.
Ultimately, the artist behind the art does matter. And when the artist proves to be a revolting criminal, it's a revolting crime to continue promoting their work.