Commissioner Gary Bettman did his best today to try to extinguish the firestorm created by the Colin Campbell emails from the Dean Warren lawsuit against the NHL.
As with pretty much all other matters, Bettman made some definitive statements without backing them up with evidence or facts. The NHL under Bettman is basically a dictatorship where if it comes out of the commissioner’s mouth, it’s true regardless of what your logical mind might tell you.
“I want to talk about the matter of Colie Campbell and the e-mails and the assertion by some people on the Internet and in the media that some internal e-mails that he wrote three years ago somehow suggest his decisions on supplemental discipline have been in some way biased.
“There are a variety of unfortunate aspects to these assertions, and perhaps the most unfortunate of all is that the people making them have not had the opportunity to observe Colie’s professionalism and integrity. He brings that to every one of his many duties with the NHL day in and day out, year after year. He takes his job extremely seriously, and it is a very difficult job. He takes his service to the game, the teams and the players as seriously as any human being can and he is somebody of the utmost integrity, and that’s the way people around the League view him.”
“There’s no basis to suggest that anything wrong, unfair, biased was ever done,” he continued, “because nothing inappropriate has happened with respect to supplemental discipline or any of his other duties.”
It’s hilarious. That people haven’t been able to see Campbell work is a result of the NHL keeping its arbitrary disciplinary process completely shrouded in secrecy. We never get to see the sausage being made, and in most cases there are no explanations of suspensions and fines.
The part about “nothing inappropriate has happened” is hilarious as well, especially considering the biggest part of this whole situation involves Campbell’s opinion of Bruins center Marc Savard and the lack of suspension for Matt Cooke after his concussion-causing hit last spring.
Again, I don’t think you can draw a line between Campbell’s emails and his decision not to penalize Cooke. But the point is, we don’t know if that decision was biased or not. We don’t know how many other emails there have been over the last three years or Campbell’s entire tenure. He might have an axe to grind with 100s of players, or just a handful. The point is there is now always going to be a stink of corruption in everything he does because of his apparent inability to restrain himself when it comes to writing critical emails.
But we don’t know. Or do we? I almost forgot: if the Commissioner Bettman says it’s so, it’s so.