Chicago Blackhawks face more off-ice controversy after being sued by former cultural advisor for sexual harassment

The Native American woman is also suing for fraud.
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The Chicago Blackhawks are dealing with another off-the-ice scandal. A former cultural advisor recently filed a lawsuit accusing the team of sexual harassment, fraud, and breach of contract.

Nina Sanders, a Native American woman, is also suing the team's charity arm. Sanders was brought in by the team in 2020 to build a relationship between the team and the Native American community. Specifically, she was contracted by the team to open up a dialogue with the Sac and Fox Nation over the use of the Blackhawks logo. The team claims its Native American imagery honors real-life American Indian, Chief Black Hawk.

The Sac and Fox Nation originally condemned the use of the logo until after August 2021 after the team and the tribe formed a partnership thanks in part to the doors opened up by Sanders. That is where the issues start as Sanders claims she was under the impression the team wanted to talk with the Sac and Fox Nation about changing the logo. She told CBS 2 Chicago...

"I think it became clear that there was no intention to change the logo. I felt like they basically used me. I built relationships with my own trusted native colleagues, and once they figured out how to do it, they pushed me out." 

The way she was brought into the organization and then had her contract not renewed is one reason for the suit. The main reason she is suing is Sanders alleges she was sexually harassed by a man working with the organization.

Sanders claims she reported two incidents of other women being groped at Blackhawks events by men working with the organization and nothing was done.

This is another off-ice issue putting a dark cloud over the Blackhawks organization.

The 2010 Stanley Cup championship will be forever tainted by the actions of the team's former video coordinator, Brad Aldrich when former first-round pick Kyle Beach alleged Aldrich sexually assaulted him during that cup run. The team's head brass covered up the allegations so as not to distract the team from winning the Stanley Cup for the first time in 49 years.

The cover-up allowed Aldrich to later work for a youth hockey team where he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a young player on that team. The scandal forced the team to part ways with general manager Stan Bowman. The way now-deceased owner Rocky Wirtz reacted when he was finally questioned about the incident years later helped taint his legacy forever.

The man credited for bringing fans back to the organization was a reason fans went away with the situation that happened under his ownership (Wirtz denied any knowledge of the Aldrich incident and the lack of action the team president at the time, John McDonough, took).

The team did settle with Beach after he brought suit.

The organization did handle allegations of inappropriate behavior made by Corey Perry swiftly when they terminated his contract. The team drew praise for how it handled the situation. One step forward, another step back with how the team is addressing this situation.

The Hawks lawyers told CBS 2 the team conducted an internal investigation and concluded "the alleged incidents of sexual harassment were not disclosed" until after her contract wasn't renewed. The team's attorney also noted "there had been…noted deficiencies" in her work.

The team is also denying the individuals alleged of the inappropriate behavior never were employed, nor contractors of the franchise.

The handling of the Aldrich incident is a big reason why an issue like this is so damaging to the team's image. This recent suit all started based on the team literally trying to address its image. The team has earned scorn here even if they are trying to infer that this suit is based on sour grapes.