Former NHL star Theo Fleury’s COVID-19 vaccine passport comments a ‘stain on his legacy’: Brandon University

Former NHLer Theoren Fleury has been stirring the anti-vaccine pot on social media, prompting Brandon University to take a stand against its honorary doctorate recipient and call his statements “a stain on his legacy.”

“Fleury has turned his voice to launching personal and political attacks and to the espousing of conspiracy theories,” said a statement released by the southwestern Manitoba university on Tuesday.

“Over the weekend, he shared a reprehensible statement falsely linking vaccine passports to pedophilia, and he responded to criticism by brandishing a screenshot highlighting several of his past awards, including his honorary degree from BU.

“Honorary degrees are awarded by Brandon University to recognize an individual’s significant achievements or contributions; they are not an academic credential.”

The Twitter post citing pedophilia has since been deleted from Fleury’s account but there are many others attacking Justin Trudeau as a clown and tyrant trying to use vaccine passports to control the population.

Fluery, 53, has also touted ivermectin, an anti-parasitic medicine for livestock, as an alternative COVID-19 treatment, and lambasted the mainstream media as liars for an “absolute all out disinformation campaign” over use of the medication.

Developed in the 1970s, ivermectin is used to treat parasites, such as intestinal worms or lice, in animals and humans.

Studies exploring its effectiveness as an anti-viral medication that could be used to treat COVID-19 have been used to fuel misinformation — despite being deemed low quality and robustly debunked by federal health agencies.

Health Canada has issued an advisory against using it as a COVID-19 treatment.

In its statement, Brandon University said it is steadfast in its support of robust public debate around issues of consequence but those freedoms must be balanced against responsibilities like honesty, integrity and good faith.

“We are disappointed that honorary degree recipient Theo Fleury is, increasingly, not meeting that balance,” it said.

Fleury was given the degree in 2015 for his significant contributions to combating child sexual abuse and for his efforts to promote healing and recovery “at that time,” the university said.

Born in Saskatchewan but raised in Russell, Man., northwest of Brandon, Fleury played 16 seasons in the NHL with the Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks and Calgary Flames.

He won a Stanley Cup and Olympic gold medal but his success was also matched by problems with drinking, drugs and gambling, all of which are well documented in books, public speeches and even a play.

He has also suffered the trauma of sexual abuse at the hands of his former junior hockey coach Graham James.

That experience led Fleury to become one of the key voices exposing sexual predation in junior hockey, for which he continues to deserve both praise and understanding, Brandon University said.

“It is understandable that he may struggle to trust authority and that he may see dark motives in others’ actions. His recent statements, however, go beyond reasonable distrust and are a stain on his legacy, which saddens us.”

The university called on Fleury to recognize that he is now a person in a position of authority and to recognize that his actions as an authority put him in a place where he can cause harm to others.

“We hope he takes advantage of the resources at his disposal and seeks greater understanding of the science behind the pandemic and the essential public health role of vaccines,” the university statement said.

CBC News has reached out to Fleury for comment.

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