The answer is simple: Manziel is white and he plays in the NFL, not the hidebound NHL, where change comes at glacial speed. (See fighting, for instance, and the decades-long effort to do away with it.)
Speak up for yourself, as Ho-Sang did, and the sizable Cro-Magnon segment of the hockey media (the ones who haven’t liked anything since Clarence Campbell was king) will try to crush you. Show a little flash and dash, as Subban did during his rookie season, and cretins from Mike Richards to Don Cherry are lining up to slap you down.
With Ho-Sang, it’s been a little uglier than a slap-down. Reports had Ho-Sang on the Do Not Draft list of many teams heading into this year’s NHL draft before the New York Islanders selected the forward 28th overall. Now if he had a string of arrests on his record, or positive tests for drugs (performance-enhancing or otherwise) you could understand that.
But the only rap against Ho-Sang is, apparently, that he’s a square peg in the round-peg world of the NHL, the most conformist league in the universe. The league is privately run, however — not much we can do about attitudes except to work to change them by degrees.