Espn's Scott Burnside does not take the same stand on Leafs Forward Mark Bell as he does on Rick Tocchet in this article. Tocchet for those who do not know was given probation for associating with gamblers while Mark Bell is heading to jail for six months for a DWI accident and leaving the scene. Bell may be allowed to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs this season before serving six months for an incident that took place while he was a member of the San Jose Sharks before being traded to Toronto this summer.
NYI Fan Central Comments:
In this increasing era of sports leagues suspending players for conduct detrimental to the league (regardless of the NHL having few incidents) Gary Bettman cannot cite the lack of these incidents as an excuse not to act.
A few years ago a young girl was killed at a game by being hit with a puck. It's the only reported instance in this happening in the thirty plus years. We know what the results were and what the league did immediately in every arena whether it was popular or not. That's the reaction Gary Bettman should have here.
In my perspective Bettman has to act regarding any individual's conduct if it is against the law or detrimental to the league and make his stand now. We also know what happened with Dany Heatley and it was a mistake not to act then.
Bottom line, Tocchet, Bell should not be allowed to represent our sport this season. The Staal brothers should also be called in by the league and a decision made regarding their conduct and playing status. I'm not advocating suspending players who go to the league asking to be put in their substance abuse programs who have done nothing wrong trying to help themselves.
This goes for every player, team official and employee who represents this sport.
Gary Bettman needs to take a stand now.