Ralph Nader has embarked on another crusade. The former U.S. presidential candidate has written a letter to the NHL telling them that it’s time to ban fighting.
Nader writes in a letter issued by the advocacy organization League of Fans:
“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.”
Nader’s organization is concerned that fighting and repeated blows to the head will have long term effects on players. The NFL has recently taken steps to protect players from concussions and Nader says that it’s time for the NHL to do the same.
“Fighting in hockey can no longer be a long-debated issue pitting those who find it barbaric and unsportsmanlike and those who argue that it’s an integral part of the fabric of the game. The growing mound of research on sports concussions and brain injuries has taken the fighting issue to an entirely different level. We’re talking about short-and-long-term damage to the brain, the very foundation of who we are as people… 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?”
Do you think fighting is an integral part of the NHL? If two hockey players get into a fight they are usually sent to the penalty box for five minutes. If the same thing occurs in the NBA… players could be suspended for weeks.
The NFL recently added “return to play” guidelines to make sure players don’t return to the game after a concussion. The NFL has also banned flagrant head-to-head hits. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell writes:
“The evidence demonstrates that team medical staffs have been addressing concussions in an increasingly cautious and conservative way. This new return-to-play statement reinforces our commitment to advancing player safety. Along with improved equipment, better education, and rules changes designed to reduce impacts to the head, it will make our game safer for the men who play it, and set an important example for players at all levels of play.”
Do you think it’s time for the NHL to start implementing stricter penalties to curb fighting?