I’m pretty sure Ralph Nader isn’t running for President this year, and if he’s not doing that, he must fill his time with other things. One of these things is an organisation called League of Fans, self-described as a “a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to encourage social & civic responsibility in sports industry & culture.”Nader wants to reform fighting in the NHL, and he issued an open letter to Commissioner Gary Bettman on Monday with the goal of seeing an outright ban of the practice in the game.
You can read the full letter at that link, but here are a few excerpts:
Dear Mr. Bettman:
“It’s time to act. The National Hockey League must take immediate steps to ban fighting and outlaw all blows to the head. And you, Mr. Bettman, as league commissioner, must lead the way.”
“Commissioner Bettman, it’s very possible that concussions and degenerative brain disease caused by blows to the head – such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) – will be the biggest issue in sports in the coming decade. Continuing to downplay what we know about sports-based brain injuries, while simultaneously supporting fighting as an elemental aspect of theNHLgame, is simply irresponsible.”
“You are right on one point: science has yet to provide us with all the answers when it comes to head trauma and concussions. But we do know that concussions are a big problem and we all intuitively know that a fist swung against a skull at a high rate of speed is not good for the brain inside that skull.”
“Your league has created a department of player safety. That’s well and good. But a quick question: How can you continue to allow fighting, in which the primary target is the head of your opponent, and seriously make the argument that you’re doing all you can to make player safety a priority?”
It’s a good read. From a fact-checking perspective, the only point that appears to be a bit off is the claim that fighting has been banned in the Ontario Hockey League, which it has not been, but the points made are clear and well-illustrated.
You might not agree with the idea of banning fighting, but there are legitimate arguments for such a ban, and this letter from the guy best known for losing Presidential elections explains them as well as anybody has to date.
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