Mumpsgate 2014: Why Didn’t the League Step In?

Sidney Crosby is not the first player to contradict the mumps, contrary to what the national media would have you believe. Arguably, Crosby is the face of the league, always atop of the leader boarder, but he is one of the many that have fallen victim to a disease that usually affects children.

“Mumpsgate” started back in September in Southern California. A local health agency had released an alert for those living in Orange County, California that there had been a mumps outbreak. Unfortunately, there are some Anaheim Mighty Ducks that happened to live and ultimately three Anaheim players would end with the mumps or mumps like symptoms.

According to the Center of Disease Control, mumps are spread “by droplets of saliva or mucus from the mouth, nose, or throat of an infected person, usually when a person coughs, sneezes or talks.” So, not only are the mumps spread like the cold or the flu, but that the NHL is a breeding ground for the mumps. It’s hard to avoid a cough or a sneeze in the locker room or flying drops of saliva when hitting a guy against the boards or sharing water bottles.

To date, at least fourteen players have been confirmed that have the mumps or mumps like symptoms. Of course, as mentioned before Sidney Crosby is one of those fourteen; but so is teammate Beau Bennett. Bennett having the mumps is actually a problem seeing as days prior he was photographed visiting sick kids at a children’s hospital which is a public relations disaster

So why hasn’t the league stepped in? They have known since mid-October when some players tested positive for mumps. Sure, they get a pass for the first couple of weeks because they had no idea the fire storm that would occur. But not only should they have done something to protect their players, but what about all the people that the players come in contact with? It’s not like the players/staff only spend time in their homes and at the rink, they are in contact with a ton of people every day.

But it’s now the middle of December and thanks to Crosby’s positive mumps test, the national media is now reporting about Mumpsgate. So yet again, why hasn’t the league stepped in and required that everyone in the league get the vaccination? While the vaccination is not perfect and won’t necessarily solve the problem, it will go a long way in stopping the spread of the virus.

The league completely missed the net when it comes to dealing with Mumpsgate. They wouldn’t have been overstepping their boundaries by requiring that each team organization take care of their players. The team organizations are not completely innocent either, they knew that this was going on and could’ve stepped in and forced their players to get vaccinated.

Ultimately, Mumpsgate is a complete Public Relations and Public Health disaster. By not doing anything the league shows no regard for their players and staff of the teams or the community in which all of them live.

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