Dare to object to the Alberta Soccer Association’s (ASA) diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training and expect to get suspended, banned from the sport, and have your character publicly smeared.Jon Mulder, president of the Central Alberta Soccer Association (CASA) and decade-long volunteer, discovered that no matter how competent and dedicated one is, expressing a different opinion nets heavy-handed punishment.Mulder was suspended October 12 by ASA Executive Director Lisa Grant after he sent a private, albeit strongly worded, email to select soccer members objecting to DEI infiltrating soccer.No discussion was allowed. There was no benefit of the ASA following policy — including proper procedures and disclosure rules — outlined in its bylaws afforded him.Just like that — he was cancelled via email!Mulder was also ordered not to “play, coach, referee or administer soccer at any level” or even attend ASA games as a spectator. That vicious pettiness oversteps boundaries.Mulder didn’t recoil and run off the field. He hired lawyer Craig Paterson and retained Mark Giles with Mi2 to handle the communications and investigative aspects of his case.And so, Mulder was hauled before a disciplinary panel Wednesday night.“I’m still basically in the dark on Lisa Grant’s position and why I am suspended aside from the claim that my email was offensive,” Mulder told the Western Standard.According to Mulder, the panel didn’t have access to required proper documentation and relied solely on Grant’s email informing him of his suspension.“They did ask if I was thinking of seeking legal redress or legal recourse against Lisa Grant of Alberta Soccer.”Mulder and Paterson “offered no comment.”To digress. How did it get to this?Grant sent an October 11 email to soccer members about a planned Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) virtual conference hosted by Canada Soccer.“The main objective of this conference is to amplify the great work being done in communities across Canada,” reads Grant's email with She/Her pronouns.The conference is hyped as focusing on “women and girls in soccer, (sexual minority community) inclusion, all-abilities soccer, anti-racism and new-to-Canada participants in soccer.”And you thought the ASA’s mandate was merely to enable all — all — Albertans aged three to adulthood to have fun playing soccer!A frustrated Mulder, who apparently didn’t get the memo that one must delicately tiptoe around those cramming ideology down everyone’s throats, responded with what he admitted was an “aggressive” email.It was strong, but I’ll give him a pass. Maybe even a pat on the back. Frustration can put a sharp edge on words. Sometimes sharp words are necessary when standing up to intimidating bullies.Did he make false claims? Prove it. Were his words intended to protect players, especially children and ensure equal access to anyone wanting to play soccer? Prove they weren’t.“Keep Marxist politics out of sports, especially children’s sports,” wrote Mulder in the email.“Only perverts and predators wish to discuss sex and sexuality with other people’s children. Adults don’t need to discuss their sexual proclivities in order to participate in community sports.” (I’d have added: Wokesters have no right to overstep parental rights with children that don’t belong to them.)“We ought not engage in the bigotry of low expectations, nor should we seek to impose policies that implicitly discriminate against Canadians, especially young males of European descent, which is what all those initiatives seek to do.” “This top-down imposition of radical left-wing ideology into our communities and sports programs is wholly inappropriate.” “This isn’t great work. This ideology is proven to destroy everything wherever it is implemented.”He included a link to a James Lindsay video. The American political critic and author has warned parents of harmful ideology behind gender identity politics and its links to the Marxist agenda.Did the ASA practise due diligence and commit to exploring Mulder’s claim — echoed by others in the sports community — that DEI discriminates against some Canadians?But Grant responded to Mulder the next day.“The email is considered a Code of Conduct violation,” wrote Grant. “Due to the nature of the comments, I am suspending you immediately from all soccer-related activities in Alberta.”“This means you cannot play, coach, referee or administer soccer at any level, nor may you attend any ASA-sanctioned games as a spectator.”“Further, I will be lodging a complaint under the ASA Discipline and Complaints policy.”Surprise, surprise! Mulder’s private email to soccer employees was leaked to the CBC — in violation of the ASA’s privacy rules.Arguably, the CBC cherry-picked quotes that portrayed Mulder in the worst light and offered Grant a platform to pounce. “To receive this email was shocking and these comments are disgusting and offensive,” Grant wrote in a statement to CBC reporter Meghan Grant.The ASA’s Grant didn’t respond to calls from the Western Standard.Back to the hearing.The three-member discipline committee — Katherine Simonson, Steve Cicchini and Doug Bewick — will decide Mulder’s fate and let him know within five to 10 business days if the suspension stands.Apparently, seeking the opinions of those in 17 area community groups and associations, many with children in soccer who elected Mulder president in 2022, isn’t important if one person finds his words “disgusting.”Hopefully, while the panel contemplates Mulder’s fate, it’ll also explore how the ASA seems to have dodged fair play, due process and following the organization’s code of conduct.The Alberta and federal government — which provided a combined $324,942 in grants to the ASA in 2022 — are obliged to investigate whether the ASA played by the rules laid out in the ASA Bylaws, Polices, Rules and Regulations.ASA had declined to provide a report or explanation on exactly why he was suspended and said questions would be addressed at the hearing.“We brought those questions forward to the disciplinary committee and they had no answers. They stated during the hearing that the letter from Lisa Grant informing me of my suspension was the complainant report being made against me.”“They said my email constituted a violation of the code of conduct, but you need to support that with some sort of argumentation. How, why, did I violate this, against whom? No explanation was given.”Grant had said she’d file a code of conduct against Mulder.“We asked for that document to be produced. They said they didn’t have it.”“My council pointed out that in the policy and procedure all documents pertaining to this hearing were to be made available in no less than three business days prior to the hearing. They kind of washed over it even though they’re in violation of procedure on our discipline policy.”The panel just said the email was “offensive.”“They asked me to explain why I would send something that people could find offensive. I said I wasn’t trying to be offensive. I was trying to foment dialogue and I can’t predict the reactions other people will have towards what I’ve written."“I was able to go through various parts of the codes of conduct and initiatives put forth by Alberta Soccer to justify my claims.”Did Mulder intend to disparage anyone in that email?“I have always encouraged Albertans of all ages — including women and girls, (the sexual minority), newcomers and all persons of all races and backgrounds — to participate in sports, particularly soccer, in our communities.”His key message was “inclusivity must be the full spectrum in nature, being sure to also include the majority of those already participating in our soccer programs.”If Grant would have talked to him, he’d have told her that. Instead, she threw a militant hissy fit and cancelled him.Anyone objecting to also protecting the majority desperately needs inclusivity training.