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19 July 2007

Michael Vick Reminds Us Why the NHL Is Still Great

Fighting and killing dogs. A little canine forced Darwinism brought by Michael Vick. Nice, eh. That is today's NFL for you.

Say what you will about the NHL and it's TV contract, "limited" fan base and myriad other problems. I say, at least it isn't the NFL. There is something to be said for a league who's biggest controversy (Chris Simon bonehead move excluded) is clutching and grabbing not being enforced instead of which player is going to be charged next in Federal court.

It is funny that that hockey is portrayed as a violent sport while football, where most players have lasting and continual physical issues when the retire, is a "contact" sport. It is all a matter of perception and largely media driven (listening ESPN?). Unfortunately for the NFL, the rise in television money, the era of gangster culture and the cultural makeup of the league have led them to this point. Lets face it the NFL is made up of men, violent men, who are given ridiculous amounts of money, even the mediocre ones, and set loose. Society is then surprised that things go astray. I guess two guys dropping gloves and settling their differences is far more socially unacceptable than say, canine mass murder.

Hockey is lucky on a few fronts. First, the culture of hockey generally is one dictated by middle class and higher families. The economics of the sport drive many of the high risk kids away from it. Hockey players generally, via juniors, college, etc.. have far more life experience and are left to their own devices far earlier in life and before they have crazy money. This seems to lead to a greater level of responsibility, both financially and socially, for hockey players. Furthermore, the extremely long hockey schedule leaves little time, comparatively, for the hockey player to find trouble. NHL players by comparison have an off season nearly as long as the hockey season is long. Idle time breeds bad ideas.

Now, I am hardly saying all hockey players are good and all football players are bad. Remember, Mike Danton? Eddie Belfour can always be counted on to lend a black eye. Craig Mactavish? There are plenty of outstanding human beings playing football. The unfortunate truth is that there are too many men playing pro football that would probably be in jail if they were not playing football.

Anyways, hockey fans, let us rejoice in the fact that we still have men playing our sport that our kids can idolize without us fearing what they are going to do next. It is something all to rare in sports and the world today.

6 fanatics have replied:

Bleu, Blanc et Rouge said...

"Criminals", "thugs", "dogs".

Perfect choice of labeling for your post, says it all too, I couldn't agree more, everything I wanted to say you said in your post.

Especially about the part where we can idolize our hockey playes (HUUUUEEEETTTT!), haha, and not be afraid of what stupidity they'll pull next.

Katy said...

I couldn't agree more.
One thing I don't understand is how people can make a deal of the "violence" in hockey when in the US there are so many sports that are JUST abouta couple people beating the crap out of eachother?

Callmeteem said...

Agreed. There are precious few kids from Elbow, Saskatchewan or Trois Rivieres involved in drive by shootings after they hit the NHL.
Not to say there aren't problems but, for a variety of reasons, they simply don't go to the depths of those in the NFL.

kaz said...

Spare me the self-righteousness. Hockey is a more entertaining, and more intelligent sport than football. But somehow hockey has cornered the market on creating fine and upstanding citizens?

This part is especially baffling: "The unfortunate truth is that there are too many men playing pro football that would probably be in jail if they were not playing football."

Really? So somewhere there's been a study done categorizing all the criminal offenses every member of each sport has ever done, comparing them against the relative population sizes from which each sport selects its pool of talent, and then compared those percentages broken down by type of crime? I'd really like to see that.

But most astounding is the overall racist tinge of this post: "the era of gangster culture and the cultural makeup of the league."

You're kidding me, right?

Norman Rochefort said...

I'm as big a fan of the NFL as I am of the NHL, and I can say what is happening to the league is a disgrace.

It doesn't take any sort of study to determine that this type of crominal behavior is far more prevalant in the NFL than any other sport. All it takes is a little something called common sense.

It has become such an epidemic that the players themselves had to go to the Commissioner and ask him to intervene. In just the past year, 10 members of the Cincinnati Bengals were arrestecd. Football rosters are about two and a half times the size of hockey rosters. When was the last time four players from one NHL teams were arrested in one year? In fact, has their ever been a season in which four players in the entire NHL were arrested?

As for the notion that the "hip hop" or "gang" culture plays a role in the legal problems facing NFL players, how can anyone take issue with that? Uncomfortable truths are no less true, even if society wants to ignore them, because it's not PC. Pointing out the problem isn't making a sweeping statement about any particular racial group. It is simply stating the sad reality that many African-American athletes, particularly in the NFL, have gained popularity by buying into a culture that exploits and emphasizes the worst racial sterotypes. Being outraged by that is not racist. It's the exact opposite.

The Ghost said...

Kaz,

Denial is an ugly thing. The culture of the NHL is essentailly a black culture. The demographics of the players outline this. Whether you choose to admit it or not, the big money gangsta culture is an overriding theme in a ton of the NFL instances.

I guess you missed my paragraph citing Mike Danton, Eddie Belfour, etc... That being said, I havent seen many NHL player facing the death penalty (remember Rae Carruth, the guy who should have got the needle), Ray Lewis. Lets see, how many NHL players shot to death in the last few years. Oh, none. You do not read about a different NHL player being arrested every week.

Many black, and more than a few white, NFL players have adopted the big money gangsta culture similar to that of the NBA. The results are clear. Arrests fior serious Felony offenses has skyrocketed. The worst thing about it is that the NFL culture, at least until Roger Goodell, tolerates it.

As for being racist, you can call it whatever you want. If I could find the stats I would gladly compare the NHL crime stats with that of the NFL.

Please, don't be an apologist for a group of players that have left the boundaries of decent public behavior. What Pac Man Jones, Chris Henry, Mike Vick (allegedly), Rae Carruth, etc have done is not ok.

Not all NFL players are bad, not all NHL players are good. The same thing is true in everyones workplace. That being said, most workforces don't have an inordinate amount of people commiting serious felony offenses on a weekly basis.

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