This week, a Vancouver Canucks’ forward named Rick Rypien shoved a fan as he was escorted off the rink.
In 2004, when NBA players went after fans in a brawl between the Detroit Pistons and the Indiana Pacers, the NBA came down brutally on the players. Nine players wer suspended for a total of 146 games resulting in $10 million of lost salary.
Granted, that situation was much uglier. Still, NBA commissioner David Stern came down hard on the players and sent the message loud and clear: there are significant consequences for physical contact with fans.
Gary Bettman and the NHL needed to lay down the law when it came to Rypien. Shoving a fan may not be a major crime, but Bettman needed to set the precedent that sever consequences would ensue should a player act inappropriately with a paying customer. Six games is nothing. And $25,000 is pocket change to a business that operates in the hundreds of millions.
(Obviously, in both cases, the fans were partly guilty, too. But those paying customers fund the players’ exorbitant lifestyles. They’re allowed to go a little over the top, verbally.)
Check out the video below. The good stuff starts at 0:55.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.