PSR ANYTIME. ANYWHERE. Introducing the Pittsburgh Sports Report eMagazine. Click to read and watch the best sports coverage in the region.
Sunday May 24 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
The Steve Pederson era at Pitt is over. After the University of Pittsburgh’s athletic director position sat vacant for more than three months, Pitt plucked Scott Barnes from Utah State to replace Pederson.
Editor's DeskFeature OnePitt BasketballPitt Football
The Pirates have already had to dip into the minor leagues for reinforcements this season, leaning on Casey Sadler, Bobby Lafromboise and Steve Lombardozzi for help.
Feature TwoNorth Shore NotesTop Story
Johnny Unitas was one of the great quarterbacks in NFL history. Unitas grew up in Brookline and Mount Washington and played high school football at St. Justin’s, which closed in 1974.
Feature ThreePure Steel
CoGo's is proud to recognize Woodland Hills High School swimmer Malin Zahn as the May 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
The Steelers 2015 Draft is complete and the newest members of the Black and Gold have gone through rookie mini-camp. Here is a breakdown of the latest additions to the squad, where they fit in and their potential impacts.
Custom 1Pure Steel
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 SteelTop Story
It's never too early to talk about the NFL Draft. With the 2015 class in the books, here's a look at the potential draft class for next season -- including a couple local products who could project toward the top of the class.
Custom 3NationalPure Steel
The Steelers' 2015 Draft received overwhelmingly favorable grades. With three teams coming off playoff seasons in 2014, however, competition in the AFC North is fierce. Here's a look at the rest of the division.
Custom 4Pure Steel