Crossing the line

Uber drivers, NHL players, and single-party consent

By on November 13, 2018

We all have days where we need to vent and get everything off our shoulders. These days typically are not pretty and show a lot of tension. They may happen because of work, family life or your boss, but nonetheless, they release a lot of pent up frustration. I can vouch for most people and say I’d prefer no one film me during those kinds of moments. I especially would not appreciate it if the recording of what was said or what occurred be released.

Unfortunately, that was the case for seven Ottawa Senators players on Oct. 29. A disgruntled bunch of players on the road let out some of that frustration in an Uber ride. The Uber driver recorded visual and audio of the conversation between the players with a camera attached to the rearview mirror. The players seemed to be unaware they were being recorded.

The Senators were on an off-night after three straight losses to the Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights. They were outscored 14-to-7 in those stretch of games. The players commented on how the other teams were breaking out with ease against them and that the coaches refused to change anything.

“Marty Raymond, the only coach in NHL history to have the worst power-play and the worst PK within a calendar year,” Senators forward Matt Duchene said in the recording. He was referring to Martin Raymond, Ottawa’s assistant coach in charge of the team’s penalty-kill system this year and power-play setup last season.

The players continued to take pokes at the staff following each comment with laughter. Defensemen Thomas Chabot and Chris Wideman talked about film sessions and how poorly Raymond ran them. The other players involved in the car ride were newly acquired Chris Tierney, Alex Formenton and Dylan DeMelo.

“Do you notice that when (Raymond) runs the video, if you actually do pay attention, he doesn’t ever teach you anything? He just commentates what’s happening,” Wideman said. “I also hate how he quizzes us.”

For a team trying to rebuild and reconstruct themselves after losing superstar Erik Karlsson, this is a setback. It created an unnecessary tension. The players show passion for their team, as stated in their apology statement, and hope to learn from this experience. Luckily, the comments they made were not too damaging, and they were only related specifically to hockey.

To most people that have played a sport and have played on a competitive team, coaching matters. If players and coaches are not on the same page, it does not bode over well. However, tensions do arise occasionally and players and or coaches display their frustrations.

A group of players discussing how ineffective their coaching staff has been recently and making a few jokes about it, that’s expected and there should not be a problem with it. Most of the hockey world is disgusted with the Uber driver for recording the players without their consent and then releasing the tape. The driver does not have a right to record audio or video without the agreement of the people in the car.

Now, there is an argument about Arizona being a single-party consent state. This means that if the driver is actively involved in the discussion, they may record and release whatever occurs. However, this driver asked one question during the clip released. He did not engage in conversation with the players in the car.

I despise the idea of single-party consent. It is not OK to film someone’s actions or what they say without that specific person consenting to it. This was an invasion of privacy and many NHL players recognized how big of an issue this is.

“I would never expect a cab ride conversation to be made public,” Vegas Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves said, according to NHL Network’s Chris Johnston. “But that’s the world we live in right now. Everybody’s a snitch.”

NHL superstar Sidney Crosby condemned the action of the Uber driver as well. He also concurs with the fact that players may badmouth their coaches.

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re a hockey player or someone looking to jump in a car. It’s too bad to see that,” Crosby said Tuesday Nov. 6 according to Trib Live. “People try to do the responsible thing, especially when they’ve been drinking and things like that, try to be responsible and jump in a car and to be taken advantage of like that, I think it’s wrong.

Uber Canada general manager Rob Khazzam came out with a statement following the incident.

“A video was released by the media today of several Uber passengers being filmed without their consent while having a private discussion during a trip through Phoenix. This is a clear violation of our terms of service and we worked vigorously to investigate this issue,” Khazzam said via Twitter. “Filming or recording passengers without their consent is totally unacceptable and if reported/detected we will investigate + take action to preserve our communities privacy and integrity. In this specific case, we made efforts to have the video taken down.”

Understand that this is an issue that should not have occurred, however, do not let your guard down by being free with whatever you say. Everyone makes mistakes and it is very easy to say something offensive when frustrated. In this day and age, it is impossible to tell if you are being recorded from any angle. Make sure that if you are venting to someone, keep it in a private situation to prevent an incident like this occurring.

Comments

About Peter Piekarski