Red Wings’ White calls Gary Bettman an idiot
Many of the players around the NHL are getting mad about the fact that the league doesn’t seem to even want to try to negotiate an agreement for the rest of November. Case in point: Red Wings defenseman Ian White. After an informal practice last Friday, he wasn’t afraid to tell the press exactly what he was thinking, taking his anger about the lockout out on commissioner Gary Bettman.
“I gotta be honest: I personally think he’s an idiot. Since he’s come in, I think he’s done nothing but damage the game,” White said.
USA Today reports that White’s comments come after news that the NHL wants to take a two-week break on negotiating a bargaining agreement, effectively pushing back any future negotiations until December. This of course means that it’s likely we’ll hear of December game cancellations soon.
White’s comments are reflections of things we’ve all heard from hockey fans throughout this lockout. This is the third time in Bettman’s tenure as commissioner that there has been a lockout, something that many fans see as a failure. His job is to keep the league running smoothly with both the players’ and fans’ best interests in mind. Clearly the lockouts are a reflection of his inability to do that.
White added to his critique of Bettman, taking him to task over expansion teams and the three lockouts.
“If you think of all the moves he’s made, teams that are all struggling seem to be the teams that he put in places where there’s not viable markets for hockey. Three work stoppages — I don’t know if he’s in control of the owners or what he’s saying,” White said, adding, “it just doesn’t seem like they’re running a democratic process, if you will.”
White also expressed his frustration with the owners and league, and he said that he doesn’t see a balance in give-and-take.
“The whole process has just been frustrating, I think, just where we stand now, you’d think that we’re close to making a deal if they’re willing to come a little bit our way. It’s something that could have been done even in the summer.”
While some think White’s name calling is out of line, I’m of the opinion that it’s refreshing to see a player coming forward and saying what he thinks of the lockout. It’s clearly frustrating for all parties involved, but I think hearing a player give their opinion resonates more with the fans. If more players come out and speak to the media, maybe the league will step up and participate in some real negotiations.
Fortunately, it looks like that is starting to happen. On Monday, as Yahoo! Sports reports, Panthers winger Kris Versteeg called Bettman “a cancer” and a “looter”.
He made an appearance on Canadian radio station TSN 1050 and told the hosts his opinion of Bettman and the lockout.
“I’m really frustrated. It’s not good. You do try to look at the best-case scenarios moving forward once the CBA does get done, and you gotta look for the cancers and you gotta cut out the cancers and I think that when you look at Bill Daly and Bettman, they’ve been looting this game for far too long,” said Versteeg.
My take: good job boys. Keep up the vocalization in the press and hopefully the players and fans will get what they desperately want–a hockey season.