April 27, 2005

Sympathy for the Devil?: Let Todd Bertuzzi find another job, one where preferably he can beat people up leagally.

Here we go again.

The outpouring of love for the wronged Todd Bertuzzi has begun anew in the aftermath of his reinstatement hearing Wednesday. Support poured in from other players.

"I think he should be reinstated," Vancouver Canuck Brendan Morrison. "It's not to take anything away from Steve Moore. Obviously, he suffered a lot, but to start the healing process for Todd, the best thing is to reinstate him."

"I think he paid his debt," said former Canuck Martin Rucinsky. "Nobody wants to see anybody get hurt like that. But [Bertuzzi] is a good hockey player and he belongs on the ice."

So someone explain to me how putting Todd Bertuzzi back on the ice is going to keep other people from getting hurt? Explain to me what part of Bertuzzi stalking, sucker-punching and debilitating another player we should just get past?

This wasn’t two guys in the mailroom having a little punch-up. It wasn’t even your normal square-up-and-throw-down NHL brawl.

This was, as the Crown charged and Bertuzzi admitted, an assault, pure and simple. This was an attack on another player in an attempt to, at the very least, injure him and, at worst, do what Bertuzzi promised after Moore’s legal hit on Marcus Naslund a few weeks earlier –make sure he wouldn’t be playing after March.

Congratulations, Todd, you succeeded beyond your wildest dreams.

What I can’t understand is why both the players and the league don’t understand that allowing Bertuzzi to play again would put both of them in danger.

Let's suppose he is reinstated. Bertuzzi laces 'em up for the Canucks and sometime next season goes loony again and assaults another player. Guess who's going to get sued this time? That's right, the NHL. It will have been Gary Bettman and the league who allowed a person with a proven tendency for violence to return to the ice and hurt someone else.

And why don’t the players grasp that Bertuzzi doesn’t care whether he hurts another player, because he thinks he’s doing his job? Will it take another broken neck before they demand that this menace is banned for good? Will his fellow Canucks finally admit he’s a goon when someone gets killed?

I don't care that Bertuzzi's supposedly a good guy off the ice and a star on it. He's also a danger to anyone else playing the game. Why should other players suffer because he can't control himself?

There should be some forgiveness for Bertuzzi. Everyone deserves a second (or in Todd’s case, a third or fourth) chance. He should be able to try to work past his anger issues and the shame of his crime.

But go ask Steve Moore about forgiveness. He's the one who will most likely never play hockey again. He's the one who has had his livelihood denied him through the stupidity of someone else. He’s the one who will be blackballed by NHL teams simply for asserting his rights by filing a civil lawsuit.

Bertuzzi is not the victim here, and forgiveness has everything to do with allowing him to move on with his life. It has absolutely nothing to do, however, with him ever playing NHL hockey again.

posted by wfrazerjr to commentary at 08:14 AM - 0 comments

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