Former Hockey Player Details How Badly He Was Abused As A Kid
I've been torn about Derek Jeter's post-baseball, faux-journalism endeavour, The Players Tribune, since it rolled out last year. On one hand, it feels like (and legitimately is) a public relations tool for professional athletes that masquerades as a webjournal. On the other hand, it sometimes actually is a webjournal, revealing the intimate, humanizing details of players' lives, that bring attention to issues deserving of greater attention.
Former Edmonton Oilers forward Patrick O'Sullivan no longer plays professional hockey, so it stands to reason that he had little to gain by altering his public image with a deeply personal, image-softening Players Tribune entry. He simply wanted the world to know that child abuse is real and terrible and broadly misunderstood.
"Whenever some people hear the phrase 'child abuse,'" O'Sullivan wrote. "They imagine discipline that gets out of hand once in a while, because it’s easier that way."
That is not always the case.
The 30-year-old Toronto-native went on to describe the gruesome abuse he endured as a child in graphic detail. Very graphic. His father's near constant physical and emotional assaults are about as shocking anything you'll read anywhere on the internet.
Below is one of the more stomach-churning excerpts.
From the moment I got my first pair of hockey skates at five years old, I got the living shit kicked out of me every single day. Every day after hockey, no matter how many goals I scored, he would hit me. The man was 6-foot-2, 250 lbs. It would start as soon as we got in the car, and sometimes right out in the parking lot.
By the time I was 10, it got worse. He would put cigarettes out on me. Choke me. Throw full soda cans at my head. Every time I stepped on the ice, I knew that my play would determine just how bad I got it when we got home. I’d score a hat trick, and afterward we’d get in the car and he would tell me that I played “like a faggot” (that was his favorite term, which says a lot).
I thought it was normal. As a kid, you just don’t know any better. He would wake me up at 5 a.m. and force me to work out for two hours before school. I remember I had this heavy leather jump rope, and if he thought I wasn’t working hard enough, he would force me to take my shirt off and he’d whip me with it. If the jump rope wasn’t around, he would use an electrical cord.
You can (and should) read the entire piece, here.
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