ROTHENBURGER – What we need in this country is a special racism court

ANOTHER PERSONALITY LOST his job Friday over racist remarks.

The latest offender is Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters, who resigned after revelations he used racist slurs against a player a decade ago.

The case is pretty typical when it comes to process. An indiscretion is revealed, social media light up, an employer assesses the damage and acts accordingly. Loss of employment is often the resulting punishment.

There’s got to be a better way, a practical approach based on common criteria and effective assessment.

Aside from legislation against hate speech, the court of public opinion has mostly been in charge of defining racism and the appropriate punishment for those found guilty of it.


Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He writes five commentaries a week for CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (8170 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on ROTHENBURGER – What we need in this country is a special racism court

  1. Sean McGuinness // November 30, 2019 at 11:06 AM // Reply

    I agree that the court of public opinion is harsh, but public figures should realise the peril of what they say. Being a PM, an NHL coach or a tv commentator comes with vulnerabilities. When one becomes a highly visible public figure, you are going to be subject to scrutiny. While I believe there should be a high bar for people in positions of power, I do feel that people who genuinely atone for their transgressions and have a record of good deeds should be given a second chance. The problem is that while a tribunal might weigh the good vs the bad, the court of public opinion does not. Some people and organisations simply can’t live with this.

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