US hockey coach branded ‘outrageous’ for posting Instagram with toy gun

The National Women’s Hockey League has criticised the US women’s hockey head coach Robb Boebert for sending an Instagram message featuring a child with a toy gun pointed at his head.

In the caption, Boebert wrote: “The world really wasn’t made just to be anti-shooting. It’s a diverse and thriving world because of those with a passion and a passion for learning to deal with the thing that exists, which is there. So what if, as a young boy, I chose not to have a gun at my dinner table? Or shoot a BB gun in the backyard? Or chose to wear a bandana and a sweater at hockey practice instead of a dress? Or choose to play in a toilet with my hockey sticks instead of playing in a dress? Or chose to get out of bed instead of going to school?”

The AOC president, Jill Ellis, said the message was “inappropriate, insensitive and appalling,” adding: “We’re proud of our athletes who are committed to their education and their Olympic dreams. We’re disappointed that one of their coaches shows such poor judgment and could so easily offend both his athletes and the NHL community.”

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Boebert, for his part, claimed that he was using the prompt for “stalking-themed meme collection” and wrote: ““I know my background in social media is in the ‘retro’ era but it’s my feeling that we live in a time where violence is something we need to address head on and with appropriate and extreme measures. The message in this photo is one of never shying away from being real and having a clear opinion. That message is very applicable and makes sense.”

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Reports suggest that the decision to shoot the photo came after the coach found an unused Western Conference trophy in his home, and decided to use it to prove a point.

Pensacola (in Florida) coach Roger Neilson, one of the most prominent figures in women’s hockey, called for the NHL to get behind the cause of female hockey players, who are usually kept in the back leagues in the winter.

“Let’s get these ladies a little bit of support and help them get up off their butts a little bit,” Neilson said. “The timing is perfect with The Game dropping in the middle of the Olympics, we can make a real difference here. And I know that’s what Roger wants to do, and I would jump at the chance.”

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