Sunday, February 12

Wanted: A sense of proportion

Michael Farber thinks that the Tocchet betting scandal is "the biggest crisis of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman's tenure." Does Mr. Farber not remember last season? It's easy to forget, because it didn't happen, but that alone makes it a bigger crisis than a federal investigation into what appears to be a small gambling ring headed by an assistant coach that most American sports fans couldn't identify.

No suspicion has been cast on any active players or any ex-players who are household names in the United States. Do you think that Bud Selig would trade baseball's steroid problem (which is only going to get worse with the Hall of Fame eligibility of McGwire, and which isn't going away until at least Sosa and Bonds are elected or rejected by the Hall) for this "crisis"?

Unless there is an explosive revelation, this story will fizzle inside a month. It doesn't implicate current players and doesn't have anything to do with the game of hockey itself. Most importantly, the integrity of the sport is not compromised by any of the allegations. And this is one case of hockey's lack of a major network deal helping its image. Out of sight, out of mind. SportsCenter will soon move on to more important American sports stories, like the NFL combine and Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s plan for turning around his racing fortunes, and the "Betzky" scandal will be relegated to minor updates if and when someone pleads guilty or goes to trial.

Now compare that to the loss of an entire season of a major professional sport, Mr. Farber.


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