The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) announced that its former athletic director was fired over two comments he made at the launch of the championship team at a youth hockey tournament and allegations of “unreasonable” workplace harassment.
In a statement Monday, Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation said Corey O’Soup, the former FSIN athletic director, twice said Beardy’s “Beerhawks” in reference to Under 9 Beardy’s Blackhawks. The comments were made during a trophy and banner presentation following a championship game at the Youth FSIN Hockey Championships on April 10.
Beardy’s called the comments “disrespectful and galling to anyone who overheard what was said and showed a complete lack of professionalism, poor judgment and improper sportsmanship on the part of the organiser.”
It asked for an apology, which was released later in the day as a video on the FSIN’s Facebook page.
O’Soup apologized for his “painful introduction” of the U-9 champion Blackhawks team and said he was “sincerely sorry” for twice misnaming the team during the presentation.
“It was neither intentional nor a joke,” he said.
“I understand with all of the issues we face today related to mental health and addiction that our communities suffer, this has caused pain and pain to you and your young people and I am truly sorry for that.”
In the video, he said he takes responsibility for his comments and directed his apologies primarily to the youth who had overshadowed their hard work with his offensive mis-naming, Beardy’s & Okemasis Cree Nation leadership and FSIN leadership . He said his comments did not represent the federation’s values.
On Sunday, the FSIN announced it had fired O’Soup, saying the comments weren’t the only reason they fired their former sporting director and claiming it also received an independent report of “unreasonable harassment”. .
“We are taking immediate action and the matter is being thoroughly investigated,” Heather Bear, deputy chief of FSIN, said in the federation’s statement released on Twitter. “Betrayal of the people we serve is reprehensible.”
According to the FSIN, protecting women from harassment in the workplace is of paramount importance. pic.twitter.com/BJjqtxPWEu
The statement did not specify when she received the report of the harassment.
In an email response, the FSIN declined to comment further on the matter.
A prepared statement from O’Soup and his wife, Jacinda O’Soup, addressed the allegation of harassment in an email, saying that “at no point was my husband informed, formally or informally, of any such allegation.”
“Due to the lack of professional legal recourse to this alleged harassment allegation by the FSIN, we will refuse to comment further until we have obtained legal counsel.”
The O’Soups are also asking for privacy for their family at this time.
In 2019, O’Soup resigned from his position as provincial advocate for children and youth following complaints of harassment and a vote by Saskatchewan MLAs to suspend him for “misconduct.”
At the time, O’Soup had said in a written statement that the harassment complaint concerned another person in the attorney’s office and was not physical, but “consisted primarily of inappropriate electronic communications.”
He wrote an apology and said he was ashamed of his actions.