Mike Danton has always fascinated me.
One of the first things I ever wrote for PuckUpdate was about his changing his name from Mike Jefferson.
Now Danton stands accused of trying to hire a hitman to kill an acquaintance.
Danton has always been volatile, both on and off the ice. He pissed off the Devils no end when he played there, to the point where they wouldn’t play him or trade him, possibly a gambit designed to make Danton’s life miserable.
He seemed to be holding up better once the Devils finally did trade him to the Blues last season.
A lot of reports are saying or hinting that the man Danton wanted to kill was his boyfriend. If it turns out Danton is gay, I really hope it will cause other gay NHLers to out themselves. Being gay and an active professional athlete is still a very big deal. As far as I can tell, there are no active NHL players who identify themselves as gay. That’s their right. One can only imagine how difficult it would be for an openly gay professional hockey player. But at the same time, it seems that if Danton becomes the face of the gay hockey player, it will be even harder for other players to come out. If Danton is gay and guilty, gay players will be perceived as criminals. If Danton is gay and innocent, people will still remember that he was accused of the crime, even if he didn’t do it. And if Danton isn’t gay, then things will go back to normal, with a sizable chunk of the league still afraid to reveal who they are to their teammates and fans.