Day 92: The New York Times Does It Right

I know I said I wouldn’t discuss hockey anymore, but an attorney from one of the biggest law firms in the country came up to me this morning to talk about the New York Times spread on Derek Boogaard.  He was talking about the three-day article series that was a result of 6 months of research by the New York Times to not only investigate Boogaard’s death, but to do something that has the world talking…end fighting in the NHL once and for all. 

The three-day series has now led to the revelation that Boogaard had CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy…a degenerative brain disease very similar to Alzheimer’s Disease) that came as a result of blows to the head.

It’s rather sad.  I think we all knew it wasn’t just the drugs/alcohol in his system that killed him.  I think we all knew how those results would come back after his brain was examined.  The shocking reality though was that he was only 28 years old. 

When I saw Boogaard for the first time in the Rangers locker room, I had to cover my mouth.  It’s been kind of hard rehashing to the Rangers (or anyone for that matter) why I had to.  My body reacts to toxic chemicals very violently…as in, I start vomiting.  When I had gone up to Boogey to interview him with the others, he was emitting toxic chemicals that were so bad…I almost started vomiting.  That should tell you just how toxic his body was. 

When I described that to them, they just nodded in understanding.  It was just sad to know that back then, something could have been done…instead of talking about it months after his death.

If there’s anything you should read, whether you are a hockey enthusiast or not, you should read this tale of Derek Boogaard.  The NHL can no longer turn a blind eye to this or doping or drugs anymore. 

Part 1: Learning to Brawl

Part 2: Blood on the Ice

Part 3: A Brain ‘Going Bad’

They’ve got one guy out there that has been in the news this past week that is screaming for help…his name is Matthew Barnaby…a hockey player best known for being a pest and an agitator (not too different of a job from Boogaard’s job in the NHL).  After Barnaby’s altercation with his wife (where he was charged with domestic violence) back in May, he was caught on Sunday driving his Porsche down the highway with only three wheels.  He was charged with DWI and was subsequently fired from ESPN. 

Should we turn a blind eye to Barnaby and let him become another statistic or is someone going to step forward and help him?  His actions go to show that he is crying out for HELP!

You have to question just how much the NHL is protecting their players.  Why turn a blind eye to doping and drug use?  I know of one player that overdosed, but it was spun in the media as being a hockey related injury.  For the one reporter that said it was an overdose, he ended up having to change jobs…but it doesn’t stop the fact that he was right.

We can’t keep acting like fighting and headshots are not killing our players.  Dementia is not a health risk that players should take on just to have a job in the NHL.  It’s time for the NHL to evolve. 

That NY attorney mentioned to me that fighting in the NHL is a lot like Gladiator.  He was talking about that one scene, “Are you not entertained?”  While the crowds wanted the Gladiators fighting and killing each other…it didn’t make it right.  It was grotesque and barbaric…and eventually outlawed.  Caesar gave the crowd what they wanted…it still didn’t make it right.

It’s funny, because I compared hockey players to Gladiators last season after watching Spartacus: Blood & Sand.  There was something about the whole Gladiator dynamic that reminded me of a hockey team.  Oddly enough, it seems as if they really are our present day Gladiators.  Still…it doesn’t make it right.

I may have been on the fence about fighting over these past few years, but after this series from the NY Times, I’m now against it. 


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