PSR ANYTIME. ANYWHERE. Introducing the Pittsburgh Sports Report eMagazine. Click to read and watch the best sports coverage in the region.
Tuesday July 7 2015
Leave this field empty.

More Transparency

PSR Logo
Congratulations, Gary Bettman. After all the years of criticism, work stoppages and mismanagement, you—and your league—finally get it.

NHL commissioner Bettman gets what groundbreaking NFL commish Pete Rozelle did and current leader Roger Goodell does not. “It” is about connecting. Not separating.


One example is the the wonderful HBO series “24/7,” which is slowly but surely accomplishing for the NHL what NFL Films did for the NFL. Bringing the game to the people.


Far outweighing that example, however, is the transparency with which the NHL is handling an issue that threatens the very core of both leagues: head injuries.

Sports fans in Pittsburgh are familiar with the issue, for which Steelers linebacker James Harrison has become the poster boy. While I'm not one to put any stock in the absurd “NFL Hates the Steelers” conspiracy, it's abundantly clear that the NFL is handing the issue horrendously. There is no consistency, there is no one explaining anything—to the players or the fans—and there seems to be a total lack of understanding throughout the league as to what the rules are, let alone how they are enforced.

The NFL Players Association deserves some of the blame for this after they loudly complained about the league's suspension-policy last season, yet signed off on the exact same policy during last year's collective bargaining negotiations. Basically, the players gave the thumbs-up to letting Roger Goodell do whatever he wants without any explanation. Some have said that Goodell runs his NFL the way Vladimir Lenin ran his Russia, but that guy at least had everyone on the same page. Seems to me Goodell runs it more like Vladimir Putin – not very well. And, of course, we all know what James Harrison thinks of Goodell.

But at the other end of the spectrum is the NHL and their vice president for player safety, former All-Star  Brendan Shanahan. Every time the league rules on a suspension, Shanahan explains the entire decision-making process in a well thought-out, clearly-illustrated, informative and publicly-distributed video.


While I've seen the videos in the past, the first time I truly examined one was during last month's incident involving Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland, who was suspended for three games for his hit on Chicago forward Marcus Krüger. I disagreed with the length of the suspension. Still do. I think one game would have been a significant punishment and a sufficient deterrent. But the league's willingness to put Shanahan front and center—with a rational, logical, and transparent explanation—increased my willingness to accept it.


The NHL is reaching out to the players and to their fans, explaining why this heavy-handed enforcement is necessary and how it can be avoided. Will there be disagreements along the way? Of course. And at times, the league will likely be wrong and someone will get treated unfairly.

But players—and fans—will respect the process more. And that's the first step in changing things for the better.

Share
Imagine this potentially disastrous scenario for the Pirates pitching staff: Veteran A.J. Burnett starts pitching like he's 38-years-old. That's it. That's the entire scenario.
Editor's DeskFeature One
In 2001, advanced statistics innovator Bill James released The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, an updated version of his original one thousand-page baseball opus released in 1985.
Feature TwoNorth Shore NotesTop Story
Bob Friend has not pitched in a major league game since 1966, but the ex-Pirates ace has kept himself quite busy in the nearly 50 years since he last pitched.
Feature ThreeNorth Shore Notes
CoGo's is proud to recognize Hempfield Area Senior High School track and field athlete Maddie Holmberg as the June 2015 High School Sports Unsung Hero award recipient.
Feature FourHigh School
PSR VIDEO
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 1 Steelers TV Channel
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 2Xfinity HS FootballHigh School TV Channel
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 3PSR Video PiratesPirates TV Channel
Cole Tucker, the Pirates first-round draft pick a year ago, stands out among his teammates. The Arizona-born Tucker stands 6-3, tanned, curly-haired and slender at 185-pounds.
Custom 1North Shore Notes
The draft and the bulk of free agency are behind us and NFL teams are headed toward OTA's and mini-camps. How do the 2015 Steelers look headed into offseason workouts?
Custom 2Pure Steel
Franklin Regional sophomore Spencer Lee has a chance to be considered the best wrestler the WPIAL has seen since his hero, Cary Kolat, won four state titles with an undefeated record of 137-0 at Jefferson-Morgan in the early 90’s.
Custom 3High School
It’s rare and exciting for fans of any sport to watch one transcendent player begin his career as a professional. This year, hockey fans may get to see two.
Blue LineCustom 4