Thursday, July 26, 2007


The NBA is in Trouble? Good! Screw Them!

by Jes

I am sure that I wasn't the only hockey fan that was filled with glee over this NBA/Donaghy/Point-shaving scandal. In case you haven't heard, some dumb ref called a lot of fouls to affect the scores of certain games, all to help some bookies make money on betting on games.

Of course, now the NBA is under an intense firestorm of criticism and backlash that it wants no part of. Whoever said that no publicity could ever be bad would obviously be wrong about this situation. The NBA has taken a Brad May shot to the head that it may take years to recover from.

Now that the very integrity of NBA games is at stake (Does anyone seriously believe that only one ref was doing this?), and the NFL is under fire for Michael Vick's dog-fighting activities and crime culture, and the MLB has this whole Barry Bonds/steroids cloud over its head, this is the perfect time for the NHL to capitalize on the misfortune of these other leagues.

For years and years, we know the NHL has been dumped on by the American mainstream media for being violent, irrelevant, etc etc etc... With all of the 'bad news' being reported these days, the worst thing that NHL has against it is the Staal brothers getting a bit too jolly at a bachelor party.
(No, Mirtle, most people don't give a rat's ass about Operation Slapshot. The media might, the league might, but fans do not)

Of course, this NBA scandal will lead to the question of how above-the-level the NHL refs are. Over at The FanHouse, I have an in-depth look at why it would be near-impossible for the NHL to ever face this kind of scandal.

The NHL has worked very hard to improve and standardize their officiating. As much as we might want to wring the neck of Kerry Fraser, we can be assured that an NHL game would never be fixed in quite this matter without it being discovered.

With the other leagues reeling in bad publicity, I'd like to see the NHL capitalize. How? I'm not sure, but promoting the integrity of its referees, the players, and the sport would be a good start. Hell, even a TV commercial where the refs are like "Unlike certain other leagues, we don't believe in fixing games" would be a huge slap to the face of the NHL and totally get the NHL some much-needed attention.

I just hope that all of this darkness in the sports world doesn't negatively affect the NHL as a side effect. If people get turned off of sports, on a mass scale, it could affect the NHL if people just decide to ignore pro sport altogether.

So, NHL, now is the time to rise above the sludge and come out like a white dove.

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I would reference Tom Benjamin's comment on this, about how the reaction of the NHL should be more to the tune of "there but for the grace of god..." and not "look at us! Look at us!"
The problem for all those other leagues is that they are on television all the time, so every little thing that happens gets picked at and obsessed over. If they move to versus this won't happen anymore and they can clean up their acts (or continue acting like donkey butts) in peace. :)
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