“I went to fight the other night, and a hockey game broke out.” --Rodney Dangerfield
Recently, the General Manager of the San Jose Sharks NHL franchise decided to question the call of the NHL in suspending one of his players. The player in question hit an opponent in the head. His opponent was injured to the point of missing the next game. The Sharks were fined $100,000. The Sharks won over the Los Angeles Kings in the next match.
Here is an excerpt of his statement:
“As stated in the NHL's Player Safety video, Rule 48.1 says, "A hit resulting in contact with an opponent's head where the head is targeted and the principal point of contact is not permitted." Thus, with the use of the word "and", this rule clearly states that two elements must occur in order to violate the rule.”
Now the thing that strikes me about this statement is the language used by the Sharks GM in critiquing the decision of the NHL. His defense appears to be that the blow was struck to the shoulder and then only incidentally knocked Stoll’s head. You would think this was a summation to the jury and the athletes in question are vehicles in a collision.
Now we have come to expect this sort of behavior in the ranks of hockey, which is a full contact sport. But the real question it raises for me is how close are we to promoting this behavior in all sports. Are athletes just meat for the YouTube replay grinder? Are we just enjoying their pain a little too much?
Do we want to teach our children to act like Sharks or Kings? Do we want them to become injured in their mid-twenties or earlier? Would it not be better if we told them that sports is for fun, not for fighting.