The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has received a complaint from a disabled man claiming he had been verbally taunted at a soccer game. Born with a condition that led to a weakened and undeveloped right arm, Mr. Refalo was coaching his girls’ soccer team when he heard the opposing coach referring to him as “the claw”.
After complaints to the local and provincial soccer associations, Mr. Refalo feels that he must pursue legal retribution in order to prove to his daughter that he is a good father:
“I’ve seen discrimination in all shapes and forms. I like to see justice,” he said. “And I thought, what kind of father would I be if I didn’t handle this properly?”
The remarks by the other coach were more than just insensitive, they were downright offensive. When Refalo asked for an apology, I would hope that decency would prevail, the mistake would be realized, and one would be unreservedly offered. That didn’t happen.
But is running to the nearest sympathetic quasi-judicial tribunal setting a good example? Are his children going to be well-served by ringing up their lawyers every time they face adversity? Will such a complaint heal the rift between the two parties?
Highly unlikely. Involving the tribunal is the modern equivalent of sticking the muzzle of a Smith & Wesson in the adversary’s face and growling, “I want that apology, now.”
Life isn’t fair, and no amount of Human Rights meddling in our lives will make it any more so. Refalo’s daughter would learn better by an example of her father taking the moral high ground, painful as it is, rather than returning with a bigger gun lawyer.
Cross-posted at SF