'I know I caused a lot of harm': Habs draft pick Logan Mailloux apologizes for sharing sexually explicit photos without consent
MONTREAL -- Warning: This story covers content some might find distressing.
Montreal Canadiens draft pick Logan Mailloux apologized Saturday for sending explicit pictures of a sexual act without the consent of his partner.
Last year Mailloux secretly took photos of a woman while they were engaged in a sexual act, and shared them -- and the identity of the woman -- with members of his hockey team in Sweden.
He was charged with defamation and criminal photography, and ordered to pay a fine.
"I know I caused a lot of harm to this person and her family," he said. "I regret doing this stupid and egotistical act. What I did now is, unfortunately, a part of both her life and mine."
Robyn Flynn hosts the TSN 690 radio show She's Got Game, and said the Canadiens' decision to draft Mailloux reeks of hypocrisy.
"This move is extremely frustrating and upsetting, especially from a team and general manager that have spent the past decade harping on the importance of character. It’s clear that off-ice character is trumped by on-ice performance," she said.
The defenceman was selected 31st overall in the first round of Friday night's NHL draft. He previously posted a statement asking teams not to draft him.
He spoke on Saturday about his decision to enter the draft, and his hopes for playing for the Habs.
"I know I'd said that I did not want to be drafted this year, but as a young man who wants to become a better person, I feel that being accompanied by the Montreal Canadiens organization will help me greatly, he said. "They are committed to helping me grow as a person, and I thank them for this."
The Canadiens issued a statement shortly after the pick was announced saying the club was "aware of the situation and by no means minimize the severity of Logan's actions."
"Logan understands the impact of his actions. His recent public statement is a genuine acknowledgment of his poor behaviour and the first step on his personal journey," read the statement.
Reaction across social media was a mix of shock, anger, confusion and some support after he was drafted.
Former Team Canada women's hockey team head coach Danièle Sauvageau told CTV News that she would like the NHL to develop clear and strong protocols to help its members, but also make sure that they send a strong statement that sexual assault is completely unacceptable.
"The first question I had was, the NHL should have a process and a clear philosophy or view on those behaviors - active or non active - and to have some sort of probation," said Sauvageau.
She said by putting an active or prospective player on probation for a year or two would send a strong message.
"If the league would have something like that in the case of young man coming up and being drafted, well, in that particular case, maybe the draft this year would not have been available for him," said Sauvageau, who spent 24 years in policing with the SPVM and RCMP. "Show maturity, show that it was a mistake, show that this is where you want to go and you will continue to work hard as a hockey player, but this year's draft is not available for you."
CRIME, NOT A MISDEMEANOR
Sauvageau added that what Mailloux did was a criminal offence, and should be treated as such.
"There has a lot of work being done over the years to teach, to educate the organization and the young men to say, you know, you're a young man, you do what young men do, but at the end of the day, there are situations that are criminal, and this is obviously a criminal offense," she said. "And being a criminal offense, at the end of the day, needs to have consequences."
Flynn echoed Sauvageau's reminder of what Mailloux was found guilty of.
"Mailloux didn’t just make a mistake," she said. "He committed a crime, one he was convicted for. I believe in second chances, but I also believe that playing in the NHL is a privilege, not a right."
Mailloux, who plays for the London Knights in the Ontario Hockey League, was on loan to SK Lejon in Sweden's third division at the time and was charged and fined under Swedish law. The 6'3", 213-pound defenceman is from Belle River, Ontario.
"I just hope that she does know that I'm sincere about this. I am sorry," said Mailloux. "It's the dumbest thing I've ever done and I know it impacted her."
"I really hope that she does know how remorseful I feel. I have apologized to her multiple times. And I do hope that that she does know how remorseful and how sorry, I do feel about this whole situation."
Mailloux turned 18 on April 15 and the incident occurred when he was a minor.
Others on social media reacted with disappointment in the decision after the Habs did so much to endear themselves to the hockey world with their Cinderella run to the finals in the playoffs.
"I have always supported the Habs, but as a female and mother of a daughter, I'm having a bit of a hard time with the decisions by the Canadiens to draft Logan Mailloux," wrote one Twitter user.
"Being a female sports fan actually sucks," wrote another. "The amount of men defending what this loser Logan Mailloux did is gross and actually scary... It's not okay what happened. Legal action was literally taken. I think you guys should specify that hockey is for everyone, except women who get preyed on by NHL players and their prospects."
Flynn said that regardless of the remorse and growth Mailloux has claimed, NHL players and prospects are role models for young people, who will know what he did, and how he still wound up with the possibility of wearing the bleu-blanc-rouge sweater.
"The message being sent to kids right now is that you don’t have to face any consequences for distributing revenge porn. In fact, you’ll be rewarded," she said.