- Texas man arrested for powder-letter hoax
- Islamic State opens ‘marriage bureau’ for single jihadists
- Drone almost blocks California firefighting planes
- Tornado rips off roofs, downs trees near Boston
- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s gay marriage ban
- White House says Russia ‘losing’ war in Ukraine
- Hamas turns to North Korea for weapons deal, Iran for money
- Syrian casualties surge as jihadis consolidate
LOVERRO: Sick and tired of watching hockey beat itself down to niche-sport status
Question of the Day
Four days after it happened, it is still sickening to watch the beatdown that Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Ray Emery gave Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby Friday night in the midst of the Capitals 7-0 beatdown of the Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
It makes me sick and angry now, just like it made me sick and angry the first time I saw it Friday night — sick to watch someone who wanted no part of a fight to be assaulted repeatedly by someone, and angry because this is a sport where such vicious acts of violence take place with the full sanction of the National Hockey League.
Angry because I wondered where Holtby’s teammates were while he was taking this beating. If this was something that took place on the streets, the police report — and there would be a police report — would describe how witnesses stood by and watched without helping the victim as he was pummeled.
Angry because I knew there would be little outrage about the attack. Capitals fans would be upset that Emery was allowed to simply pick a fight with Holtby, who made it known he didn’t want to fight, and would call for Emery to be punished beyond the two-minute instigation, the five-minute fighting major and the 10-minute misconduct for leaving his crease. He received these penalties from the officials on the ice who stood by and let this assault happen.
Why? Because that’s hockey. I knew that would be the big-picture reaction. And that makes me sick and angry.
So I reacted appropriately — emotionally and angrily. I went on Twitter and Facebook and said hockey will always be a fringe sport, a novelty act, as long as it allowed this kind of vicious fighting to be part of the game.
Hockey is not a fringe sport. It is not a novelty act. But it occupies the low rung of the major pro sports ladder in America. Fans complain that their sport doesn’t get the attention it deserves. My point was, one of the reasons it will never attract a bigger share of market attention is because incidents like the Emery beatdown of Holtby happen because fighting is a sanctioned part of the game — especially given the trend today of backlash against violence, even in violent sports.
I heard some of the typical reaction from hockey fans — fighting has been part of the hockey forever; what about boxing, and on and on, one defensive reaction after another, missing the point.
The whole point of boxing, if you are familiar with the sport, is to fight. And if you want to walk down the same street, fine. See where boxing and mixed martial arts exist on the landscape today — occupying niches.
“Thom, hockey isn’t a fringe sport or a novelty,” Leonsis wrote. “If you would like I will go on your important Redskins radio show and we can discuss…looking forward to seeing you at a game sometime, too.”
If Leonsis wants to come on “The Sports Fix” on ESPN 980 to declare that hockey is not a fringe sport or a novelty, fine, have at it. You would think he might be more outraged about the assault that took place on his player in Philadelphia Friday night — and it was assault. Emery should be charged with a crime, instead of given the third star of the game by the Philadelphia media, despite giving up four goals.
You would think he might have used his incredibly important network or blog to call for NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to take action against this kind of violence — to finally take steps to change the culture of the game with drastic action.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- LOVERRO: Hall of Fame is one birthday present A-Rod will never unwrap
- LOVERRO: These are Bruce Allen's Washington Redskins now
- LOVERRO: CBS Sports leaves broadcasters hanging in Redskins name debate
- LOVERRO: Who are the men behind D.C. 2024 curtain?
- LOVERRO: Ian Desmond could follow Jeter model in D.C.
Latest Blog Entries
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: 'Obama, Obama, where are you?'
- Romney would win popular vote in rematch against Obama: CNN poll
- White House says Russia 'losing' war in Ukraine
- Babson College, BYU win top spots in Money magazine's college rankings
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- White House defends Kerry failure to broker Middle East cease-fire
- DeSean Jackson working on offensive cohesiveness with Redskins teammates
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq