Jersey Girl Sports fam, this is classiest move I've ever heard from a team,and I'm more astounded every time I read this.
When it was announced that American Christopher Knight had purchased the Belfast Giants hockey team, the Northern Ireland team was excited about the change and promising future. Then it was revealed that Knight was a registered sex offender. Odyssey Trust, which owns and operates the Odyssey Arena executed an "out" clause in light of this development.
As you might imagine, this isn't exactly the image the Belfast Giants were going for.
According to BBC News:
Knight, whose address is given on the Florida Department of Law enforcement website as West Sussex in England, was charged in 2003 with Lewd or Lascivious Battery.
This means he is alleged to have engaged in sexual activity with a person aged between 12 and 15, and he remains on the sex offenders register.
Knight, now without a place for his team to play games, had a deadline to sell the team and when he didn't, the players collectively resigned, including the front office staff.
In a statement from the Belfast Giants via Brian Burke, Chairman of Odyssey Trust Ltd, they speak to their concern about their image and commends their commitment to fans by playing out the last two games before leaving:
“We became aware of major issues relating to the new owner of the Belfast Giants on February 1st. We immediately moved to protect the Odyssey complex by conditionally terminating the Belfast Giants (2008) Ltd’s contract to play at the Arena while entering into a without prejudice agreement to ensure the team continued with its games and its commitment to the league and its fans until the end of the season.
“The Belfast Giants has been one of the most successful sports teams in Northern Ireland and an integral part of the success of the Odyssey Arena. Since this news emerged, we have done all in our powers to protect the integrity of the team and ensure the future of professional ice hockey in Belfast. Last week we offered to purchase the assets of Belfast Giants (2008) Ltd , this was not responded to leaving us with no alternative other than to secure the name and brand of the team and create a new company structure by which the team could continue to play. Today, the entire staff including players and administrators will be signed to an Odyssey Trust owned company permitting the team to finish the season and continue the battle to retain their title.
“This has not been an easy period for the Belfast Giants but it is highly commendable that the players, who were without contracts, fulfilled their commitment to the team’s two games this past weekend including helping to raise money for the team’s nominated charity at the match on Friday evening. We would also like to assure the loyal Belfast Giants’ fans that we are committed to protecting the excellent reputation and long-term future of the team.”
Knight basically owns a team without players or place for them to play.
While this criminal activity is in his past, I think the move by the players is commendable. The affect of his sexual perversion and assualt on the victim will leave an indelible imprint, with an impact that may last a lifetime.
It's good to know that child predators are disliked everywhere.
What do you think about the team?
Your Jersey Girlfriend,
~Angela Davis*parts of this story contributed from Yahoo! Sports