People don’t like Gary Bettman. For some, the boos are just tradition—he’s in the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder for his impact on the sport as a whole. But let’s not let that get in the way of how we should see him—a man who has shown no empathy for the people he employs.
See the following tweets that surfaced again today:
Asked what he would do if he had carte blanche to change the game to reduce the number of head injuries @NHL’s Gary Bettman said, "Right now I don’t believe there’s much we could do." pic.twitter.com/WFk2TVT15y— Power & Politics (@PnPCBC) May 1, 2019
Let me repeat that one more time, just in case it wasn’t clear:
Not only is he denying a link that’s been scientifically proven many, many times over: he’s feigning ignorance AND claiming he wouldn’t do anything if there was a link. Imagine walking into your job, and your boss is filling your building with asbestos. You bring it up, and they says “Everyone I’ve talked to said it’s absolutely fine, despite what some complainers here and there might say. But even if it was dangerous, it’s in here now; we can’t just take it out!”
This is an issue being addressed by the NFL (after a LONG, painstaking process)—the league is debuting new, safer helmets this season, among other things. But to have your head in the sand and be actively worse than NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is an accomplishment in cruelty.
Retired players are suffering en masse from the aftereffects of CTE. Players are being pushed back on the ice after being ushered into the arena hallways for a “concussion protocol check”. We saw several instances of it just this year. The Old Boys’ Club points at and laughs at NBA players for leg injuries by touting the claim that “hockey players are tough and play through broken jaws!”
Bettman has drawn a line in the sand, and made himself entirely clear: the employees that work for him are becoming disabled by the job he is in charge of, and he doesn’t care.
As so many players and their families suffers for something he is adamantly against even attempting to mitigate, he should know that their pain and suffering is on him.
Boos are too kind.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position of On The Forecheck.