Hockey Coach Fired Over Facebook Postings Glorifying The Nazis

10356058Christopher Maximilian Sandau, 33, is by all accounts a perfectly good minor hockey coach in British Columbia. Nevertheless, he was fired recently by the North Delta Minor Hockey Association because of his support of Nazi propaganda and history. It is the latest example of an employee being terminated for their statements or associations outside of the workplace.

I have previously written about concerns that public employees are increasingly being disciplined for actions in their private lives or views or associations outside of work. We have previously seen teachers (here, <a href=”http://jonathanturley.org/2011/10/12/georgia-court-rules-against-teacher-who-lost-job-after-posting-facebook-pictures-drinking-in-europe/”>here, <a href=”http://jonathanturley.org/2009/04/02/model-teacher-english-teacher-faces-possible-discipline-over-modeling-career/”>England, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here), here, here, students (here and here) and other public employees (here and here and here) fired for their private speech or conduct, including school employees fired for posing in magazines (here), appearing on television shows in bikinis (here), or having a </</aaprior career in the adult entertainment industry (here).

In this case, there is no allegation that Sandau discussed his views on the Nazis as a coach, let alone showed prejudice in dealing with others. Rather, his Facebook site contains Nazi propaganda. The association ruled that “The posts contained extreme and objectionable material believed to be incompatible with an important purpose of our minor hockey association — to promote and encourage good citizenship” and that “[t]he NDMHA requires that our coaches present themselves as positive role models for our children athletes.”

A parent put it more succinctly: “You can’t be a Nazi and coach kids hockey.” That presents the challenging question for free speech advocates in where to draw the line.

Putting aside the difference between private and governmental action, the question is whether people should be allowed to hold views that others consider objectionable so long as they do not manifest those views at work.

Sandau’s Facebook page is described as “a shrine to Adolf Hitler and Nazism,” including a picture of the swastika with the message, “If this flag offends you you need a history lesson.” There is a great deal on the site that many of us would find objectionable, but there remains the question of whether employees should be forced to adhere to conventional historical or political views in their private lives.

Sandau insists that he is merely a “a big history buff,” though his view of history includes holocaust denial.

We have seen increasingly monitoring and punishment related to private expressions or association, particularly on social media. It is part of the “Little Brother” danger that I spoke of recently. I have little patience or interest in such views. However, I am concerned about employees feeling that they live in a fishbowl where views or associations in their private lives must meet some undefined social standard of acceptance.

It all comes down to the specific statements. Obviously, someone who is raving about racist views or people being subhuman cannot be trusted with children. So there does come a point where your public comments (even outside of your position) are material to your continuation as a coach or employee. I did find one article quoting a radio host who said that his interview with Sandau was highly disturbing and “deeply hateful.” It would be useful to see or hear the specific statements that led to the termination.

I found this observation that again reflects his general denial of allegations against the Nazis and his insistence that the Nazis were “not that evil as we’re told.”

screenshot

I could not find the interview transcript or recording. The original statement of the association did not give specific on which statements on his Facebook were determinative for their decision. Putting aside the possibility that there could have been statements sufficient to force termination, there is the question of whether a person should be terminated if he (as Sandau claims) is a holocaust denier and a person with a different (if disturbing) view of history. What do you think?

Source: The Province

36 thoughts on “Hockey Coach Fired Over Facebook Postings Glorifying The Nazis”

  1. Facebook is a public forum to which the hockey players would have access. Therefore is it only a degree away from the coach expressing his pro-Nazi opinions directly to his athletes. It is not private expression.

  2. Erik Honniker commented on Hockey Coach Fired Over Facebook Postings Glorifying The Nazis.

    in response to jonathanturley:

    Christopher Maximilian Sandau, 33, is by all accounts a perfectly good minor hockey coach in British Columbia. Nevertheless, he was fired recently by the North Delta Minor Hockey Association because of his support of Nazi propaganda and history. It is the latest example of an employee being terminated for their statements or associations outside of […]

    Funny how the most important part of the source article was ignored here: “The hockey association apparently told Sandau he could keep his job if he made his Facebook posts private, but he told CTV he turned it down on principle.”

    Since this was lost here it is – Like I said – I despise the principle behind facebook It should be called the glorified ego book for some of these winners

  3. Both parties have I Amendment rights here. He had a right to say the things he said and the party employing him has association rights (and the corollary right to DISASSOCIATE). Yes, as an employer, I can DISASSOCIATE from you because I don’t like you because the things you say bother me. I’m not the government.

  4. It’s nice to see two good women, leej and KarenS, having a good dialogue. Two women on different ends of the political spectrum, being civil and substantive. Kudos to both.

  5. Karen, I don’t know. She lived with us for a year and I never heard ger say or show one ounce of anti-Semitism (we were Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur jews and she hung with me and friends who were Jewish and was fine This seems to have come to her later in life, maybe from the level of folks with whom she was associating in Brazil)

    I wax and wane about unions because there are still too many instances where unions do the protecting that government is trying to take away, not from being fired like the NYC forget what they call the room with the teachers who can’t be in with the kids or fired) but health issues for instance. (I am a good example of democrats do not tow the party line just because it is the party line)

  6. Valerie Jarrett was born in Iran and lived there until 8 or 9 (I could be wrong on that). As an advisor might degrade Israel? We all learn that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and tooth fairy aren’t real. I don’t insist they actually exist. You learn as you grow. The young Russians were stunned by the truth about their country. Asking their elders how could they let that happen? Amazing differences.

  7. Number one – he probably should have been fired Number two I hate Facebook, It brings out the worst in some people that aren’t quite balanced.

  8. FDR promoted smoking. He should rot in hell for that one alone. And he thought that his itShay did not stink.

  9. Larche:

    “I always carefully hid my own views on religion and politics: I believe a government employee has no business discussing such opinions with minors under his or her supervision, but my students surely noted my values.”

    I wish more teachers felt this way or had a similar code of conduct.

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